PDC confirms World Matchplay to go ahead, but undecided on venue and fans
Matt Porter: "It is still our intention to be able to stage the Betfred World Matchplay with a crowd and we remain in talks with all relevant parties in a bid to achieve this."
By Brian Barry
Last Updated: 06/06/20 12:00am
The PDC has confirmed that professional darting action will return next month, with the 2020 Betfred World Matchplay taking place from July 18-26 live on Sky Sports.
The prestigious 32-player tournament is set to be the first fully-televised PDC tournament to take place following the suspension of events due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic.
Nonetheless, there hasn't been a complete pause in action as the PDC Home Tour has kept the professionals on their toes. The championship group takes place on Friday night, live on the Sky Sports app.
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However, it is yet to be determined whether the Matchplay will take place in its traditional home of Blackpool's Winter Gardens, or indeed if fans will be permitted to attend. The PDC says it is working closely with the UK government and other relevant parties on the issue, and a decision will be made by Saturday July 4.
Should fans not be permitted, then the tournament will be staged behind closed doors at an alternative, appropriate venue.
"It is still our intention to be able to stage the Betfred World Matchplay with a crowd and we remain in talks with all relevant parties in a bid to achieve this," said PDC chief executive Matt Porter.
"We have worked hard with the venue, our broadcast partners and other parties to look at alternative dates later in the year, but with no guarantees of how restrictions may be lifted, we have taken the decision to retain the original dates so that the Betfred World Matchplay can play a major part in our sport's return to action.
"The Betfred World Matchplay will be broadcast in full by Sky Sports...and with or without a crowd we're working as hard as possible to make the 2020 tournament as special as ever."
Details for ticket holders will be confirmed once a final decision is made in relation to being able to stage the Betfred World Matchplay with or without a crowd.
The PDC is also finalising plans to resume ranked Players Championship events from July onwards, subject to government approval and clarification on any quarantine restrictions for overseas-based players. Further details will be announced in due course.
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