Matt Porter has said that the Premier League Darts show will go on – for the time being.

With COVID-19 now declared a pandemic by the WHO, governments have stepped in to limit large public gatherings. As a result, the Premier League Darts double-header in Rotterdam and European Tour events in Germany have been postponed.

The picture is a little less clear in the UK. Football has notably come to a halt following decisions by the Premier League and Football League, but there has been no concrete action taken against public events going ahead. As a result, there was a full weekend of Players Championship action at the weekend.

This Thursday’s Premier League Darts meet in Newcastle will be staged as planned, but Porter told Sky Sports News that the PDC will keep tabs on developments.

“This is obviously an ever-changing situation and I think it’s dangerous to make long-term predictions or to forecast what’s going to happen even as much as 24 or 48 hours in advance,” said the PDC chief executive.

“It’s obviously evolving, and we will wait and see what the government advice is over the next few days.”

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Concerns

There are concerns not only about fan welfare, but players as well. Wayne Rooney has recently spoken out about footballers being made to continue playing amid the COVID-19 outbreak, and it’s unclear how the Premier League Darts players are treating the unique situation.

“It’s obviously something that we were fully on top of and we issued precautionary measures with things like player interaction with fans during the walk-ons, how staff engaged with people and making sure that the venue were fully on top of there being right sanitisation provisions on site,” claimed Porter.

“It’s not something that we’re taking lightly by any stretch of the imagination, but we’ve made sure that the right precautions are in place to keep everybody as safe as possible.”

Doors closed

Porter has said that it’s unlikely that the Premier League Darts would be continued behind closed doors, as the floor tournaments are, if crowds were to be barred from attending future events.

“Those events [floor tournaments] lend themselves to a behind-closed-doors environment. Does Premier League Darts work if it’s behind closed doors? Arguably not.

“It’s a situation we encountered a couple of years ago at the UK Open when we had to play behind closed doors due to extreme snow. It forced the venue to be closed.

“It clearly changes the whole atmosphere and dynamic of the event because darts is built on its colour and its noise, et cetera.

“So that [playing Premier League behind closed doors] is something that we’d have to consider very carefully, and it certainly wouldn’t be our preferred option.

“We’ve managed to speak to our venues who we still have Premier League nights outstanding with and look at alternative dates, like we’ve done with Rotterdam when we’ll be going there in the second week in September all being well.”

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

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Author: Ed McCosh