Raymond van Barneveld has confirmed he will not be appearing in this year’s World Matchplay after withdrawing from the upcoming Players Championship events.
The Dutch legend has appeared in every World Matchplay since 2007, notably finishing runner-up in 2010, but has now made his final appearance in the sport’s summer show-piece.
The five-time World Champion confirmed on Twitter that he has pulled out of the two European Tour qualifiers on Friday and the double-header of ProTour events over the weekend due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’.
With Barney therefore unable to qualify for the Czech Darts Open from June 28-30, the final event before the cut-off for the World Matchplay, he is officially out of the race to reach the Winter Gardens.
With three events remaining prior to the cut-off, he was £11,250 behind the provisional qualification places, which are currently occupied by Kyle Anderson and Ryan Searle.
Van Barneveld has not disclosed his full reasoning for opting out of this weekend’s competition but has vowed to ‘focus on the rest of the year’ as he bids to book a place at Alexandra Palace for a farewell World Championship campaign.
The 52-year-old, who was recently included in the World Series events in Australia and New Zealand later this summer, finished bottom of the Premier League table at the halfway stage, announcing his immediate retirement in Rotterdam before swiftly reversing the decision.
He finished runner-up in Players Championship eight but has not been beyond the Last 16 of a ranking tournament since.
His record at the World Matchplay was also somewhat underwhelming; he finished runner-up to his great rival Phil Taylor in 2010 but failed to surpass the Quarter-Final stage in eight subsequent visits to Blackpool.