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Ladbrokes UK Open to be held behind closed doors in Milton Keynes

Jamie Shaw in UK Open 26 Jan 2021
The UK Open becomes the latest event to be relocated to Milton Keynes (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

The 2021 Ladbrokes UK Open will be held behind closed doors in March at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes for the first time.

Due to ongoing restrictions, the 160-player tournament will be moved from Butlins Minehead to Milton Keynes without a crowd.

The Ladbrokes UK Open completes a clean sweep of major televised events to be held behind closed doors, and for the first time in 2021, will not feature Rileys Amateur qualifiers.

Instead, the 128 PDC Tour Card holders will be joined by top-ups from the 2020 Development Tour and Challenge Tour Order of Merit, as well as 16 non-qualified players from the respective Q School Orders of Merit.

The full breakdown of additional qualifiers is as follows:

  • The top eight non-qualified players from 2020 Development Tour OOM who remain PDPA Associate Members in 2021
  • The top eight non-qualified players from 2020 Challenge Tour OOM who remain PDPA Associate Members in 2021
  • The top eight non-qualified players from 2021 UK Qualifying School Final Stage Order of Merit
  • The top eight non-qualified players from 2021 European Qualifying School Final Stage Order of Merit

PDC chief executive Matt Porter said: “We share the disappointment of players and fans that the 2021 Ladbrokes UK Open will not be able to be staged in its popular home at the Butlin’s Minehead Resort in front of a live crowd this March.

“The UK Open forms an important part of the PDC calendar and it is appropriate that this retains it place in March this year.

“We’re pleased to be able to keep the spirit of the UK Open alive by incorporating amateur players, even though we are unfortunately not able to stage qualifying events with Rileys this year due to the current circumstances.

“As always we’ll be playing across eight stages simultaneously on the opening day, and I’m sure that the excitement and drama will remain for everyone watching the coverage around the world throughout the tournament.”

The layout of the venue is yet to be confirmed, with matches from eight stages previously split across three different areas of the venue in Minehead.

Before moving to Minehead in 2014, Bolton’s Reebok Stadium had hosted all matches in the same area of the venue.

Michael van Gerwen will head to Milton Keynes as the defending Ladbrokes UK Open champion, having defeated rival Gerwyn Price 11-9 in the final.

The full UK Open field of players will be confirmed following Q School on February 17.

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