SUTTON UNITED will start ripping up their all-weather 3G pitch and now face a race against time to be ready for the new season.
Matt Gray's side secured promotion to League Two on Sunday with a 3-0 win over Hartlepool to reach the Football League for the first time in the club's 123-year history.
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Sutton will have to replace their all-weather pitch with a grass version to satisfy league rules.
But EFL chiefs have told them they could only ground-share with another club – while the grass grows – IF they went up via the play-offs.
Sutton chairman Bruce Elliott said: "It was made clear to us by the EFL that they would only allow us to have a temporary ground-share if we went up via the playoffs.
"So the fact we have won it and gone up as the champions means we have to have a pitch ready for the new season in August.
"That's the rules. We were firmly told that was the situation. We have a contractor who assures us that will be the case, but ideally the first game of the season will be away to buy us a little more time.
"We don't know what the weather will be like over the summer and we don't know what condition the new grass will be in, but if it satisfies the rules then that will be OK."
Sutton were hoping that their £500,000 artificial pitch could be taken up and relayed locally to form a new training ground.
That would be used for the club's women's, academy and disabled teams.
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But Elliott does not think it will be possible to remove the pitch without cutting it up.
He added: "The pitch has to be dug up and maybe we could sell patches to some supporters for their gardens!
"Unfortunately, it does not look like it will be possible to take it up carefully, roll it up and put it somewhere else, as we had hoped."
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