Meanwhile PDC chief executive Matt Porter has revealed that there are still potential issues surrounding foreign players having to quarantine for 14 days.
The Summer Series of Players Championships is set to commence on July 8 with the Matchplay to follow soon after. He told the Darts Show:
“The big issue at the moment which we need to resolve is the 14-day quarantine for overseas visitors to the UK”
If there is some form of exemption for sportsmen on that which we understand is being discussed, then that would certainly help the situation.“
We have got an obligation to 128 Tour Card holders. If there are one or two that have problems getting back into the UK, whether it is travel or their own personal situation, then they might be unlucky.“
“We can’t leave 124 people at home because four people can’t get in. That would not be the right thing to do.”
“It would be unfortunate for any individual who wasn’t able to come back, but assuming that number was a small percentage of the overall field of Tour Card holders, then we would need to look after the majority.”
Despite the overwhelming desire of most players and fans, it is looking less and less likely that the World Matchplay will be held at its traditional home. Although it has not yet been completely ruled out, The Winter Gardens will pose many challenges that can be solved by alternate, more self-contained, venues.
Speaking to ‘Online darts’, Matt Porter (PDC Chief Executive) extolled the virtues of the Marshall arena in Milton Keynes. It is clear that the snooker event played there recently, also under the Matchroom management, and that the PDC has been closely involved with such event planning.
Matt confirmed to Online Darts:
“I worked very closely with the guys at World Snooker. They are following a very similar model to what we intended to.”
It’s clear that Matchroom, the PDC, and World Snooker have put a huge amount of effort into envisaging how closed-door, “bubble-style”, events could be made to work.
” The Marshall arena is the perfect location to create a bubble venue. Hotel onsite….excellent transport links and centrally located”
“We get on very well with the management team: they are fully on board with what we are trying to achieve”
From the above and signals coming from Barry Hearn, and others, it seems, barring a late and dramatic change in the regulations that the Marshall Arena team are in pole position to hold this iconic event for the 2020 staging.
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.
The PDC calendar could suffer further postponements in the coming weeks due to the ongoing global situation, admits PDC Chief Executive Matt Porter.
The worldwide restrictions in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic have seen PDC events suspended since March 19, with all of April’s Unibet Premier League and other tour events being postponed.
Speaking to The Darts Show Podcast, Porter admitted that further postponements for the Premier League’s planned May dates are possible, with rearranged dates already seeing the season set to end on October 1 in Newcastle.
He said: “We’ve announced that all the Premier League nights up to the end of April are postponed [and it’s] more than likely the May ones will be as well but we’re working through the challenges associated with those and we’ll fit things back into our calendar as best we can, probably in the second half of 2020.
“So far, we’ve been fortunate in that we’ve been able to reschedule every night for a Thursday, which is good because I think people associate Thursdays with Premier League darts, so we can keep that continuity even if it does mean we’re in the second half of the year.
“We don’t want to go too late because of the other big events we have in the lead-up to Christmas, so we’ll get as much done throughout the summer and early part of the autumn as we can.
“It is difficult. Venue availability is key, things have got to fit in geographically, we can’t be in two places at once – we need time to build events and then take them down again afterwards – we’ve obviously got commitments to fans, broadcasters, sponsors, venues and all sorts of different stakeholders.
“We’re working through it. Fortunately, we were a bit ahead of the game, we spoke to a lot of venues three or four weeks ago on this just to pre-empt it, so we’ve had back-up dates held for longer than perhaps other promoters have.
“It might be that a couple of events away from the top tier have to bite the bullet for this year, and that might be something we look at, because ultimately there’s only so many weekends in the year. We hope to put on as much of it on as possible.”
He added: “It’s unprecedented times, challenging times, not just for us but the wider world, not just sport.
“It’s important to get a sense of perspective, because when sport’s up and running, we all treat it as if it’s the most important thing out there for us, and then of course things that are genuinely important come along and puts everything else in its place.”
Alongside the popular Premier League nights, the PDC also hope to be able to stage European Tour and Players Championship events as soon as possible, enabling players to secure prize money.
“At the moment, we don’t want to look too long-term,” added Porter. “It’s a new situation, an ever-changing situation and we don’t know what it’s going to be like in six weeks, six months.
“I think it’s fair to say that you can write off most of the next three months, that’s going to be a difficult position to try and get anything up and running again.
“Whether the restrictions are relaxed at some point in the future and we’re able to put events on – tour events for the players’ benefit only in controlled situations with extremely limited numbers of people and certain health and safety regulations in place – that’s just speculation.
“None of us know, but we’re conscious of the fact that darts players are self-employed and that, technically, they’re not really earning any sort of income at the moment.
“Some of them might be fortunate enough to have sponsors who are still paying them, but those who rely on prize money and exhibition income are going to be struggling.
“We’ll speak to the PDPA about that and we don’t want to see anybody fall off the radar in that respect – it’s important that players are communicating with us if they do find themselves in a difficult position, and if we have to look at putting things together to help them through these times then so be it.”
Porter also discussed the possibility of introducing events in a controlled environment once restrictions on movement and travel are lifted.
“In theory, darts can be played behind closed doors as long as there’s two players and somebody to keep score,” he said.
“It could be possible, we’d obviously have to bear in mind Government advice and restrictions – would venues be open, what would the conditions be like?
“It’s not impossible, but I don’t think anything’s going to be happening for a while.”
With no ranking events being held at present, the PDC and PDPA are in discussions over the PDC Order of Merit ranking system, with Porter adding: “We are looking at what we’re doing with the rankings.
“It’s not something we’ve come to any sort of decision over yet, we’re in the early stages of disruption but obviously we will work with the PDPA, who are very good on the fairness and looking out for all the different categories of member.
“Although everybody’s got a Tour Card on the main tour, not everybody’s in the same boat; some people are extremely comfortable, others less so, some are defending a lot from two years ago, others less so.
“So we have to make sure that changes, if we make any at all, are completely transparent and fair for everybody. But hopefully if we can get as many events staged as possible, then we can still give players as much chance as possible to top their rankings up.”
For full details of the PDC’s Coronavirus rearrangements and up to date news go here.
After years in the mind, and months of preparation, a new style of darts magazine is ready to go. OCHE! is the brain child of Phil Lanning. Long time sports journalist Phil, son of legendary commentator Dave, has been working flat out to see his ambition fulfilled.
Noticeable, from the off, is an ‘up market’ GQ meets OK styling, with an amphasis on innovative use of font, photography and graphics.
Interviews and clubs from top draw names, from players through to TV presenters together with those from the business itself, also feature heavily.
All-in-all it looks as if Phil, and his photographer son Taylor, have hit the bullseye.
(DW EiC): As a superb darts journalist and the son of a former Darts World stalwart, we wish Phil, Taylor and OCHE every success! (CJHH)
The qualification structure for the PDC European Tour has been confirmed for 2020 ahead of the widest-reaching season of events since the series was introduced.
A total of 13 European Tour events are set to take place during 2020, including visits to Belgium and Hungary for the first time alongside tournaments in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, the Czech Republic and Gibraltar.
As in recent years, each event will feature 48 players and sees the top 16 players from the ProTour Order of Merit seeded through to the second round.
PDC Tour Card Holders will now compete in one combined qualifier for a total of 24 places in the tournament, having previously been split into UK and European Qualifiers.
The top two ranked players from each Host Nation will also qualify by right, where applicable, as two of four players representing each Host Nation.
Further qualifiers will come from the PDC Nordic & Baltic and East Europe regions (one place per tournament), with two places reserved for an Associate Member Qualifier, which will be open to players who competed at the 2020 PDC Qualifying School but did not win a Tour Card.
“The European Tour is a hugely popular and important part of the PDC circuit now and the expansion into two new territories next year is accompanied by this exciting update to the qualification structure,” said PDC Chief Executive Matthew Porter.
“We have reviewed the European Tour with partners including PDC Europe and the PDPA and believe that this new qualifying structure provides a great balance for fans attending across Europe as well as players competing in the events.”
Tickets for the 2020 PDC European Tour are available through PDC Europe via https://www.pdc-europe.de/tickets/
The full qualification structure is as follows:
16 Seeded Players – top 16 entered players from ProTour Order of Merit at time of entry deadline. Will enter each event at the second-round stage, and need to win their second-round match in order for prize money to count to the relevant Orders of Merit.
Up to two ranked players from the Host Nation, outside of the top 16 seeds, from the ProTour Order of Merit at the time of entry deadline. Will enter each event at first-round stage, and need to win their first-round match in order for prize money to count to the relevant Orders of Merit. Should there be less than two ranked players from the Host Nation, additional places would be on offer at the Host Nation Qualifier.
24 Tour Card Holder Qualifiers – from one knockout qualifier featuring all Tour Card Holders
One PDC Nordic & Baltic Qualifier
One East Europe Qualifier
Two Host Nation Qualifiers – from events for Associate and Day Members from the Host Nation. Day Members can participate in up to two Host Nation Qualifiers per year.
Two Associate Member Qualifiers – from events open to any Associate Member who competed at the 2020 Qualifying Schools.
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