PDC chairman Barry Hearn has said that darts will continue – though that stance may change as the COVID-19 outbreak develops.

In quotes from the start of the week captured by the Metro, Hearn was clear that he would try to keep both darts and snooker going for as long as possible.

“I’m fire-fighting on a daily basis. The danger is you destroy the whole infrastructure of sport,” said Hearn.

“Less well-known players, smaller football clubs, smaller sports, they might not be necessarily funded well enough to survive a long-term lay-off.

“The knock-on effects for society are disastrous. Sportsmen and women are self-employed. If they don’t play they don’t get paid. They have mortgages and children.

“While I want everyone to be healthy, I do understand people have to go to work and earn their living. I am mindful we are responsible for the livelihoods of thousands of sportspeople around the world.

“That’s something I have to look at when I make decisions about behind closed doors or cancelling. This is not the rainy-day fund — this is a disaster day.”

Postponement

While Hearn’s intention is for the show to go on – a sentiment backed by chief executive Matt Porter – the PDC has had their hand forced in recent days.

The Premier League Darts meeting in Newcastle has been postponed alongside the Rotterdam double-header, and upcoming floor events have also fallen victim to the growing crisis.

“It’ll cost us money, but that’s the last thing on my mind. We want to continue to provide entertainment and provide a livelihood for our players,” said Hearn.

“But everyone will have to be prepared for a change in circumstances. We don’t cancel. We delay. Our primary objective is to keep the show on the road, provided people’s health is not at risk.”

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Author: Ed McCosh