The PDC Chief Executive Matt Porter says placing London in tier three a week before the Worlds would feel like “a great big sledgehammer” to the event.
In a wide ranging interview with Online Darts, he also says it would take a “brave man” to place London into tier three restrictions a week before Christmas.
Mr Porter also spoke with us about the:
- changes to Q-School and
- Premier League potentially being moved back and the rest of the 2021 calendar
“This government have been nothing but consistent in making decisions that have raised eyebrows”
With just days to go until the 2020/21 World Darts Championship, there’s a real possibility that tier three restrictions could be put in place in London. That would mean no crowds would be allowed to attend the event.
“It’s not a spanner in the works, it’s a great big sledgehammer going through the middle of them” said Porter when asked his thoughts.
“It would take a brave man to do that to London a week before Christmas, or any other city. But this government have been nothing but consistent in making decisions that have raised eyebrows.
“If we can’t let people in, we’ll still stage the event at Alexandra Palace without a crowd and we’ll make it as good as we can do.”
Porter also revealed that they had submitted plans to have the World Championships as a test event with fans, before it became law.
He added that ticket sales had “gone alright… some sessions have sold out, but if you want to go on a Wednesday afternoon, that’s not too difficult at the moment.”
“This new format for Q-School could… end up being the right decision going forward”
Also on the agenda was the announcement that Q-School will now be split into two stages as part of a shake up of the event.
The Chief Exec said that “if you look in businesses all across, not just sport, certain things have happened as a result of COVID, which may have been accidental, but have ended up with a good result.
“Potentially, this new format for Q-School could be something that ends up being the right decision going forward. We’ve had to bring it in for social distances, we can’t have 500 players being in a room together at the same time. We haven’t got an aircraft hanger big enough.
“The logical step was to separate players based on their status in 2020. We’re not giving people tour cards. They’re still going to have to get through qualifying and still the same number of cards available.
“It’s still going to be very difficult to earn your card.”
Premier League could be moved back in 2021
There’s also been talk suggesting that the Premier League could be moved back in order to get more fans in arenas.
“That’s a logical conclusion for people to jump to” responded Porter when asked about it. “Let’s see what happens when the Premier League and see what knock on affects that has on other events.
“If we know that the delays would only be short to get back to normality, they are delays we’d be more willing to stomach.
When the topic of the 2021 calendar came up, Mr Porter said that the PDC are buying their time.
“We don’t want players to waste their time and money on bookings for events that may not take place in the town or the place they expect them to.”
There was plenty more discussed in the interview, including the:
- women’s and amateur game and
- increasing needle in darts
Watch the full interview with the PDC Chief Executive Matt Porter and Online Darts’ Phill Barrs below.