Cross ‘Over The Moon’ – Matchplay Defence Is On!

ROB CROSS admits he’s “over-the-moon” that he will get to defend his Betfred World Matchplay in July.

The PDC have confirmed this afternoon that the prestigious major will definitely go-ahead from July 18-26. The prestigious 32-player tournament is set to be the first fully televised PDC tournament to take place following the suspension of events due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic.

Following discussions with host broadcaster Sky Sports, the original dates of July 18-26 have been confirmed for the event to be staged. The PDC are continuing to work with the UK Government and other relevant parties to be able to stage the event at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens with a crowd, subject to any relevant regulations.

A decision will be made by Saturday, July 4 if the tournament is able to proceed with a crowd at the Winter Gardens. Should this not be possible, then the tournament will be staged behind closed doors at an alternative, appropriate venue.

Final details for ticket holders will be confirmed once a final decision is made in relation to being able to stage the Betfred World Matchplay with or without a crowd.

Reigning champ Cross said: “It’s great news, I’m over-the-moon. I know that the PDC has been working so hard to keep the sport ticking along despite such difficult circumstances”.

“It’s fair to say we are all desperate to get back to the big stage if it is safe to do so for all players”.

“It will be tough to come back and straight into a major event like the Matchplay. But it’s a sign that life is getting back to normal hopefully.”

The PDC also revealed that fans who have purchased tickets for the 2020 Betfred World Matchplay can obtain a refund from their point of purchase should they wish*. Should the event take place in 2020 behind closed doors, then fans will be entitled, following July 4, to defer their ticket purchase to the 2021 Betfred World Matchplay.

PDC Chief Executive Matt Porter said: “It is still our intention to be able to stage the Betfred World Matchplay with a crowd and we remain in talks with all relevant parties in a bid to achieve this.“We have worked hard with the venue, our broadcast partners and other parties to look at alternative dates later in the year, but with no guarantees of how restrictions may be lifted we have taken the decision to retain the original dates so that the Betfred World Matchplay can play a major part in our sport’s return to action.

“Giving fans the chance to apply for a refund for this year’s tickets or to retain their booking will give them a chance to make their own decision in relation to the event either immediately or when a final announcement is made in the coming weeks.

“The Betfred World Matchplay will be broadcast in full by Sky Sports as well as the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners, and with or without a crowd we’re working as hard as possible to make the 2020 tournament as special as ever.”

The PDC are also finalising plans to resume ranked Players Championship events from July onwards, subject to Government approval and clarification on any quarantine restrictions for overseas-based players. Further details will be announced in due course.

Pix: PDC