Salisbury JournalEngland to inspect Manaus pitch (From Salisbury Journal)

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England to inspect Manaus pitch

Salisbury Journal: There have been concerns over the pitch at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus There have been concerns over the pitch at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus

England will send a member of their backroom staff to inspect the pitch at the Arena Amazonia when they land in Manaus on Thursday.

Just three days before England begin their World Cup campaign against Italy in Manaus, the pitch inside the stadium appears to be in a shocking state.

The grass looks incredibly dry and yellow marks stretch across the pitch.

England are due to land in Manaus on Thursday morning and the Football Association has confirmed that one England coach will be sent to the stadium to see how it looks.

England will train on the pitch on Friday, 24 hours before the Italy game.

The surface was in pristine condition when manager Roy Hodgson visited the city in February, prior to a FIFA workshop.

The Arena Amazonia, which holds 39,118 people, was constructed last year at an estimated cost of around £173million.

In a change to their itinerary, Hodgson's squad will train at their hotel in Manaus on Thursday, rather than at the FIFA-allocated training ground.

The FA insists this is consistent with protocol following a long flight.

England's charter jet will take four hours to travel from Rio to Manaus, which is located in the north-west of the country.

Unlike England, Italy will travel to Manaus one day before kick-off.

FIFA sources said the problems on the Manaus pitch had been caused by "excessive use of fertiliser" but that there was no threat to the match taking place.

Organisers are sending an expert to oversee intensive treatment to the pitch between Thursday and Saturday, but believe the problems are "largely cosmetic" with the worst area confined to one corner of the pitch.

A FIFA spokesman said there was no threat to the match taking place.

"The pitch in Manaus has been undergoing treatment in preparation for the FIFA World Cup. Over the last three months, mitigation procedures have been put in place and there continues to be, significant improvement," said the spokesman.

"Pitch experts from FIFA and the LOC are satisfied that the pitch will be ready for training and the matches, and have been based in Manaus to ensure that all proper procedures are in place."

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