The 2020 World Matchplay will take place as scheduled from July 18-26, but doubts remain over crowd access. The prestigious…
The 2020 World Matchplay will take place as scheduled from July 18-26, but doubts remain over crowd access.
The prestigious major is set to be the first live televised PDC tournament to take place following the enforced suspension of events due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The original dates of July 18-26 have been confirmed following discussions between the PDC and host broadcaster Sky Sports, though it remains unclear where and how the event will take place.
The PDC are continuing to work with the UK Government and other relevant parties to be able to stage the event at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens with a crowd, subject to any relevant regulations.
A decision will be made by Saturday July 4 if the tournament is able to proceed with a crowd at the Winter Gardens – the home of the World Matchplay since 1994.
Should this not be possible, then the tournament will be staged behind closed doors at an alternative, appropriate venue.
Live Darts understands the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes is a preferred option, with Matchroom having already staged snooker tournaments at the venue, which offers on-site accommodation.
The PDC are also set to announce a series of Players Championship dates next week which will take place prior to the World Matchplay and will form part of the qualification criteria.
It is understood that the relevant social distancing measures will be in place on the ProTour, as seen in the German Superleague in recent weeks.
Final details for ticket holders will be confirmed once a final decision is made in relation to being able to stage the Betfred World Matchplay with or without a crowd.
However, fans who have purchased tickets for the 2020 Betfred World Matchplay can obtain a refund from their point of purchase should they wish.
Should the event take place in 2020 behind closed doors, then fans will be entitled to defer their ticket purchase to the 2021 World Matchplay.
PDC Chief Executive Matthew Porter said: “It is still our intention to be able to stage the Betfred World Matchplay with a crowd and we remain in talks with all relevant parties in a bid to achieve this.
“We have worked hard with the venue, our broadcast partners and other parties to look at alternative dates later in the year, but with no guarantees of how restrictions may be lifted we have taken the decision to retain the original dates so that the Betfred World Matchplay can play a major part in our sport’s return to action.
“Giving fans the chance to apply for a refund for this year’s tickets or to retain their booking will give them a chance to make their own decision in relation to the event either immediately or when a final announcement is made in the coming weeks.
“The Betfred World Matchplay will be broadcast in full by Sky Sports as well as the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners, and with or without a crowd we’re working as hard as possible to make the 2020 tournament as special as ever.”