Justin Pipe has responded after the DRA confirmed he had been charged for ‘Coughgate’.

The regulation authority issued a £3000 penalty and a formal warning to the Taunton thrower for his conduct at the World Championship. Pipe appeared to step towards first round opponent Bernie Smith and cough as the New Zealander threw for the match.

Smith missed two match darts, allowing Pipe to edge through. The incident was replayed and assessed by pundits, the most vocal of whom was Wayne Mardle. Mardle branded The Force a ‘disgrace’ for his actions.

In an exclusive interview with the Sun, Pipe said he was ‘heartbroken’ at the incident.

“I’m flabbergasted and heartbroken to be totally honest. The entire episode has left me bewildered,” said Pipe.

“The facts are simply that neither my opponent Bernie Smith nor referee Paul Hinks made a complaint or said that I coughed to put him off.

“Neither of them heard a noise. I have a message from Bernie saying he heard nothing. Surely that is the end of it? This wasn’t even an issue.

The Players Championship semi-finalist levelled some of the blame at Mardle and his fellow Sky pundits. “It only became an issue when it was blown out of all proportion on Sky Sports, that led to an avalanche of abuse aimed at me on social media and then when I played my next match against Phil Taylor,” he said.

“Sadly I wasn’t even allowed to give my side of the story on TV following the so-called incident. It seems I’m being victimised for no apparent reason.”

“My character has been assassinated”

In a thinly-veiled dig at Mardle, he added: “It’s even more surprising considering the person who has created all this openly put off his opponent in a World Championship quarter-final a decade ago and won the match.”

Pipe received a tough ovation at the Ally Pally for his second round tie with Taylor, which he lost 4-0. Following the controversy, Pipe insists that he was not in the wrong. He also decried the level of punishment he has been subjected to by darts fans.

“My character has been assassinated, my wife and children have suffered continual abuse and the last two months has been horrendous for us all,” he complained.

“I have no idea why this witch hunt was started but it is unacceptable and irresponsible to use such strong language against me like a cheat. I’m not a cheat and never have been.

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Author: Edward McCosh