Sale accept Premier Rugby verdict
Sharks to invest in pitch
December 10, 2009
Officials debate the state of the pitch at Edgeley Park © Getty Images
Sale Sharks are to make "a significant investment" into the pitch at Edgeley Park before Christmas according to co-tenants Stockport County FC.
The surface was at the heart of the controversy that saw last week's match between the Sharks and London Wasps called off. Premier Rugby have since ruled that the game should have gone ahead and laid the blame at the feet of the officials involved.
But the decision taken by the club to bring forward works on the playing surface tacitly acknowledges that there are problems with the Edgeley Park pitch after the rainfall in recent months. County, who play their home games at the venue have been forced to move their FA Cup tie with Torquay United to Macclesfield in order to facilitate the works.
A statement on the Stockport County website reads, "Following lengthy conversations with Sale Sharks, a plan for significant investment in repair and maintenance of the pitch has been agreed."
A club spokesman said, "We have had several conversations with Sale, and we would like to thank James Jennings (Sale CEO) and Neil Hilton for the positive way that they have approached this problem, a difficult issue for both clubs. They have agreed to spend a significant sum to repair the worst affected areas."
There will also be a major reconstruction of the pitch next summer, but it is hoped that the works scheduled to take place in December will keep the ground playable through the winter.
"In the interest of not causing further damage to the game of rugby we will now concentrate our efforts on re-arranging the game and making it up to the thousands of rugby fans that have been disappointed and whose faith in the sport of rugby has been let down," Jennings said.
"We will look forward to the re-match against London Wasps and hope that at the second attempt we get the victory we deserve. Once the date for the rescheduled game has been agreed we will announce this, together with details on ticketing for this game, including the issue of replacement tickets."
Meanwhile, Sharks winger Ben Cohen has hit out at the decision to postpone the match and says that rugby union may have to follow league to a summer season.
"They've set a precedent here. After this we've got to change to a summer sport, haven't we?" he told The Mirror. "Because if Edgeley Park is calling games off now, what's it going to be like in January-February time when winter has really taken hold?
"Obviously the safety of players is paramount. But the pitch was fine, it really was. Wasps have used the laws of the game to get away with it - not for the first time."
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