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Wessel Nijman handed five-year suspension from darts for match-fixing

Kyle McKinstry handed eight-year darts ban for match-fixing

Jamie Shaw in Icons of Darts Live League 25 Nov 2020
McKinstry receives the longest ban in the history of professional darts

Kyle McKinstry has been banned from darts for eight years after being found guilty of match-fixing in the Modus Icons of Darts Live League.

Two matches involving McKinstry were flagged by the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) during the Modus Live League in April and May.

The Modus Icons of Darts Live League was a series of live-streamed events sanctioned by the Darts Regulation Authority, in which players competed remotely.

Following a DRA investigation, it was decided that McKinstry had a ‘case to answer’ for two separate instances of match fixing and failing to cooperate with the DRA enquiry by not producing his phone itemised billing.

McKinstry, who had his management contract terminated by MDA Promotions in August, had agreed to fix the outcome of a match against David Evans on April 30 by contriving to lose 5-0.

He passed information of his intention to do so to eight others, who placed 39 bets totalling £3,980, resulting in net profits of £18,830.

Significant connections were identified between the eight bettors and McKinstry. One was a close associate, while several of the others were Facebook friends with either McKinstry or his partner.

Charge Two alleged that he fixed his performance in a match against Wessel Nijman on May 2 by deliberately failing to score any 180s.

Again, McKinstry had alerted others to his intention prior to the match, thus allowing them to place winning bets on this specific outcome.

Multiple bets of £100+ were placed on McKinstry to score fewer than 1.5 180s against Nijman, and the Northern Irishman duly failed to hit a maximum.

Of his four matches that day, McKinstry hit two 180s against Martin Adams and failed to score any in his other three matches.

McKinstry consistently denied any involvement in fixing the Nijman match and maintained his innocence throughout the hearing.

Charge Three alleged that McKinstry failed to co-operate with a subsequent DRA investigation by failing to provide his mobile phone billing as required and requested by the DRA.

The DRA concluded that a combined sanction for the two cases of match-fixing would be a six-and-a-half year suspension, while an additional 18 months was added for failing to produce phone itemised billing.

McKinstry is suspended from playing or being involved in any darts activities until midnight on 17 August 2028.

While accepting McKinstry’s position of losing his job on April 30, financial evidence obtained during the investigation did not support his claim of a desperate financial position.

He was also ordered to pay costs of £4,730.64 by December 31, 2021.

DRA Chairman Nigel Mawer said: “This shows that any player found guilty of match fixing at any level of the sport will be caught and will face a lengthy ban.

The specific suspension for failing to produce itemised phone billing is welcomed, as the requirement for co-operation from Players is an important part of any DRA investigation.”

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, McKinstry wrote: “I made a bad error of judgement at a bad time in my life.

“This is something I will regret for the rest of my life and I hope this is a catalyst for anyone else in a bad position.

“I am going to work hard and keep my head down and hopefully put this behind me and come back bigger and stronger.

“I would like to say I am sorry to my supporters and sponsors for everything but most of my all family and friends.”

The 34-year-old reached the Quarter-Finals of the 2019 BDO World Championship and has featured on the PDC Challenge Tour.

He finished seventh on the 2019 Challenge Tour Order of Merit, qualifying for the 2020 UK Open, in which he reached the Last 16.

The news follows Wessel Nijman’s five-year suspension last month for match-fixing in the same competition.

In 2018, Gilbert Ulang was suspended from professional darts for seven years after being found guilty of match fixing at the 2016/17 PDC World Championship.