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Van den Bergh and De Sousa among nine players confirmed for 2021 Premier League Darts

Premier League Darts line-up to revert back to ten players in 2021

Jamie Shaw in Premier League Darts 03 Jan 2020
The Unibet Premier League Darts stage (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Premier League Darts will revert back to a ten-man line-up in 2021 following the removal of the ‘Challengers’ concept.

The past two seasons have seen a series of players competing in one-off appearances during the opening nine league nights, offering them a chance to sample the Premier League Darts stage.

Luke Humphries was the only Challenger to win a match as he overcame Gary Anderson in Exeter earlier this year, while Fallon Sherrock and Stephen Bunting picked up draws.

This year will see the event move back to having ten regular competitors, with the bottom two players following Judgement Night being eliminated.

The 2021 Premier League is currently scheduled to be played from February to May, but may be moved due to the ongoing restrictions across the UK and Europe.

PDC Chief Executive Matthew Porter told The Darts Show: “We will certainly announce the players after the final, but the idea at the moment is to keep options open, because if things have to change, then we don’t want to be committed to something we can’t uphold.

“What we’ve tried to do is keep the darts element as close to normal as it can be.

“The events may have fallen down in respect of live crowds and sponsors, but the actual darts side of things has been as close to normal as we could have got them, and that’s certainly made it easier and more bearable for people.”

The Masters is set to take place in late January as planned, but beyond that, no definitive calendar has been finalised for next season.

“We’ve put Q School back. We’ll do the Masters at the end of January and then beyond that, we are still reviewing our options,” Porter added.

“We want to be able to complete as much of the year as possible, but we’re in a different scenario here, because in 2020 a lot of it was a case of finishing things we’d already started.

“We obviously haven’t started anything for 2021 yet and we’ll have that little pause in January which will give everybody time to take stock, see how the land lies in terms of restrictions and what’s allowed, not just here in the UK, but in different territories as well.”

Glen Durrant will return to the 2021 Premier League as the defending champion, having finished top of the table in 2020 before going on to triumph on Finals Night.

Traditionally, the world’s top four ranked players secure an automatic spot and are currently occupied by Michael van Gerwen, Gerwyn Price, Peter Wright and Rob Cross.

If Gary Anderson was to lift the William Hill World Championship trophy on Sunday night, he would become world number four ahead of Cross.