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World Matchplay to go ahead but venue and crowd remain doubtful

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Session times confirmed for 2020 Betfred World Matchplay

World Matchplay 2020 to be played behind closed doors

Jamie Shaw in World Matchplay 02 Jul 2020
The World Matchplay will be held away from Blackpool for the first time in 26 years (Photo by PDC)

The 2020 World Matchplay will not take place in Blackpool for the first time and is to be held behind closed doors at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.

It will be the first time the prestigious summer show-piece has not been staged at the iconic Winter Gardens since the tournament began in 1994.

The PDC held extensive talks with the UK Government’s Department of Culture, Media & Sport, the venue, host broadcaster Sky Sports in an attempt to find a safe solution for the World Matchplay to be staged at the Winter Gardens.

However, with this not being possible the tournament will now be played behind closed doors, with the Marshall Arena being able to provide a protected environment to ensure the safe staging of the event.

PDC Chief Executive Matthew Porter said: “This is an unprecedented step for us to take and this tough decision has been made only after exhausting all possible options in a bid to stage the World Matchplay with a limited crowd in Blackpool.

“We thank the DCMS for their co-operation throughout the process and also the Winter Gardens and Blackpool Council, who remained committed to hosting the event throughout the process.

“Whilst this will be disappointing for the thousands of fans who had planned to watch the World Matchplay live in Blackpool, we will be offering those fans the chance to defer their tickets to 2021, when the tournament will return to its spiritual home.”

The tournament will take place on its originally scheduled dates of July 18-26 and will be the first fully televised PDC tournament to take place following the suspension of events in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It will be the second PDC major to take place behind closed doors in recent years, following the 2018 UK Open in Minehead which was disrupted by Storm Emma.

Fans who had booked tickets for the 2020 World Matchplay will be given the opportunity to transfer them to the equivalent session of the 2021 event, which is planned to be held from July 17-25.

Alternatively, fans can request a refund of their ticket base price from their point of purchase.

The Betfred World Matchplay will see the top 16 in the PDC Order of Merit joined by the 16 highest ranked players from the ProTour Order of Merit following the conclusion of the Summer Series on July 12.