Status: 12/30/2021 10:34 a.m.
The darts world championship in London threatens to sink into corona chaos. On Wednesday (December 29th, 2021) the third player who tested positive was withdrawn from the tournament in Dave Chisnall. A little later, the already eliminated Dutchman Danny Noppert reported a positive result.
The sporting importance of the biggest darts tournament of the year is thus becoming more of a farce. Several prominent players criticize the organizers because hardly any safety precautions were taken. On Christmas Eve, the hitherto ideal darts world was in turmoil for the first time when five-time champion Raymond van Barneveld tested positive for the corona virus.
The course of the world championship was not influenced at this point because van Barneveld was no longer in the tournament. It was different the day after Christmas when Vincent van der Voort got caught and the Dutchman could not play his third round match. His opponent James Wade received a bye, but the tournament was otherwise continued as normal, including 3,000 fans in the hall.
Association PDC is silent
One day later, the positive test by co-favorite Michael van Gerwen made even bigger waves. His opponent also made it to the round of 16 without a fight.
So far there has been no reaction from the organizing Professional Darts Corporation (PDC). That didn’t change when last year’s semi-finalist Dave Chisnall was excluded from the tournament because of a Covid infection. With the latest findings from Dutchman Noppert, there were ten positive test results around the World Cup that were made public.
No bubble for the players
Last year the World Cup took place without spectators, and the players had to enter a so-called bubble. The hotel was given for everyone, and they were only allowed to stay there or at the venue. This time there are no such precautions, although fans are there again. The players are spread over different hotels and can move freely without restrictions.
Some emphasize that they are self-isolating. For example, the former world champion Peter Wright. Michael van Gerwen also stated that he did not know how he got the virus. However, he had celebrated Christmas with his compatriots van der Voort and Dirk van Duijvenbode in the house of his manager. Van Duijvenbode tested negative and can therefore contest his round of 16 as scheduled.
Van Gerwen and other players criticize the organizers
For van Gerwen, the PDC is partly to blame for the situation that has now arisen. “They should check everyone at the entrances every day, but they didn’t. If you just follow the rules of the British government, they don’t have to, but it would have made sense for your organization and the event to protect “, he told the Dutch portal” AD Sportwereld “. The current rules are as permeable as a sieve: “It’s just terrible and it will take me a while to come to terms with it.”
No test requirement for players
Another participant, who did not want to be named, was similarly critical of the Sportschau: “The PDC did not carry out any PCR tests itself, but only offered rapid tests and anyone could do them without any control. I had to do one two days after my arrival Do a PCR test because the government stipulated it. After that I had myself tested independently and at my own expense. ”
After the player had won his first match, he didn’t even have to show a current test a few days later before his next game at the venue: “I was told that it wasn’t necessary because you had already seen my test. ”
According to these statements, it would have been possible for a participant to withhold a positive test result from the organizer. The PDC made a short statement on the allegations in the room: “We will not comment on individual players. We will continue to follow the government’s guidelines.”
Defending champion wouldn’t mind a postponement
For the defending champion Gerwyn Price, the world championship has now clearly lost value, as he announced after van Gerwen was eliminated. “It may not be the best option to postpone the tournament now, because of course I know how much work the organizers have invested. But it would be a solution to which I would not say no,” wrote the Welshman on Instagram.
There is currently a lot of evidence that the World Cup will still be held with spectators and without further restrictions until the end. Even more corona-related game cancellations would probably not change that. The game date between the years when there is otherwise little competition is too attractive.
Consequences for the world rankings
The consequences would not only be limited to the health of players and fans. At the World Cup, most of the points are awarded for the world rankings, which would be distorted for at least two years.
Another co-favorite, Gary Anderson, aimed in this direction: “This is not right for me. There will be so much confusion in the world rankings in the next few months.” And the hoped-for great media attention could also lead to the image of darts being permanently damaged by negative reporting.