Chelsea pitch decision expected by end of week

Premier League chiefs have begun analysing evidence from Chelsea and Charlton as they prepared to deliver their verdict on the sandy pitch recently ripped up at Stamford Bridge.

Premier League chiefs have begun analysing evidence from Chelsea and Charlton as they prepared to deliver their verdict on the sandy pitch recently ripped up at Stamford Bridge.

Addicks chief executive Peter Varney demanded a replay of the January 11 fixture, which Chelsea won 4-1 on a heavily-sanded surface described as a "beach" by Blues boss Claudio Ranieri.

A three-man League inquiry team, consisting of two senior Connaught Place officials and a lawyer, heard seven hours of evidence from referee Mike Dean, Ranieri, Charlton boss Alan Curbishley and a host of other figures from both clubs.

The trio will produce a written report and hand it to the League's board, made up of chief executive Richard Scudamore, chairman Dave Richards and secretary Mike Foster, for a ruling later this week.

The board will decide from three options - throwing out Charlton's complaint, granting Varney's request for a replay "on grass" or ordering further investigation.

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