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Crowd riot causes play to be halted during Invitational Darts Tournament final in Melbourne

livedartsstaff in Melbourne Darts Masters 02 Dec 2019
A major darts exhibition turned ugly on Friday night as crowd riots disrupted the final of the Invitational Darts Tournament between Michael van Gerwen and Simon Whitlock in Australia.
Tables and chairs were thrown and fights broke out during the closing stages of the popular event at the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne.
Witnesses have also reported people being body-slammed into furniture and others urinating in the middle of the stadium floor, with the unrest leading to the players being taken off stage.
A huge pile of tables and chairs mounted in the centre of the stadium floor and the small number of security staff were unable to contain the trouble.
Police were called to the stadium shortly before 9pm local time and eventually managed to diffuse the situation, but the cause of the riot remains unknown.
Around 800 people attended the event which featured home hero Whitlock, world number one van Gerwen, Masters champion James Wade and five-time World Champion – Raymond van Barneveld.
Reigning World Grand Prix champion Van Gerwen recovered from 4-1 and 8-4 behind to defeat Aussie ace Whitlock 9-8 in the final.
The ugly scenes will come as a cause for concern to event organisers, with Australia earmarked as a rapidly growing darts hotspot and the PDC World Series returning Down Under in Autumn.

Security and police officers stand guard around a pile of plastic chairs and tables after spectators threw them (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)


Police officers walk through a pile of chairs and tables (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)


Spectators throw plastic chairs and tables during the final between Simon The Wizard Whitlock and Mighty Michael van Gerwen. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)


An injured spectator is assisted by a security guard (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)


Spectators in fancy dress wrestle on the floor (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)


A general view during the final (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)


The arena floor is littered with upended tables and chairs (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)