Gerwyn Price has said that he “wouldn’t disagree with” a postponement of this year’s World Darts Championship after a fourth player tested positive for Covid-19.
For arrows fans, the annual edition of the biggest tournament in the sport is usually a massive part of the Christmas season. But this year’s championships have been anything but festive.
Yesterday, James Wade and Chris Dobey were granted byes to the last 16 of the tournament due to their opponent’s test results. Fan favourite Vincent van der Voort and three-time world champion Michael van Gerwen were forced to withdraw from the tournament without ever knowing how well they would’ve done. Raymond van Barneveld also tested positive after being defeated by Rob Cross in round two.
Van Gerwen has not won a major tournament since November 2020. But many still felt that he was slowly beginning to rediscover his best form. Therefore, they believed there was a chance that he could’ve become the best player on the planet once again.
The ‘Green Machine’ was one of the favourites to emerge victorious in the final on January 3. But now, he will have to wait another year to make his next attempt at an elusive fourth world title.
He took to Twitter to express his feelings to his 378,000 followers.
He said: “Really disappointed, confused and angry at the way my world championship is ending. I never expected this outcome as I thought I did everything possible to avoid it. In addition, I haven’t got any symptoms—time to close this year off really quickly. Fans, I’ll be back stronger!”
What does Gerwyn Price think?
Gerwyn Price is the reigning world champion, having defeated Gary Anderson in the final in January. This time around, he has beaten Richie Edhouse and Kim Huybrechts on his way to the last 16.
The Welshman believes that the tournament has been “devalued” due to some of its best players being forced to pull out.
He posted his feelings on his Instagram story shortly after van Gerwen’s positive test news.
He said: “The tournament is devalued. I’d rather play the best to be the best. I feel absolutely sick for these players having to pull out over Covid.”
Matters have since gone from bad to worse for the PDC. On Wednesday, it was announced that world number 14 Dave Chisnall has also had to pull out of the tournament. UK Open finalist Luke Humphries has received a bye to the next round.
Following the most recent withdrawal, the former professional rugby league player has concluded that the tournament can’t continue. Therefore, he felt it only right to present a potential solution to the PDC’s problem.
Price stated: “The tournament needs to be postponed.”
Unfortunately, the world number one knows all about having to withdraw from a tournament because of Covid-19. He was forced to pull out of the Premier League earlier this year after testing positive.
He later added: “I’ve been in their position so I feel for the players that have had to withdraw. There’s a lot of hard work gone into getting events like the World Championships on so postponing probably isn’t the best option but an option I wouldn’t disagree with.
“Time to keep myself safe and out of touch… keep safe all.”
What will happen to the World Darts Championship?
The outbreak at the Palace has caused a massive ripple effect on the players involved in the tournament. Chisnall, van der Voort and van Gerwen have not just lost the opportunity to become the world champion, but they’ve also missed out on a chance to make huge money.
The withdrawals have created more questions than answers as we don’t know what will occur down the line. What happens if one of the finalists test positive? Could somebody become world champion by default?
What we know at the moment is that the tournament is currently ongoing. Five matches are currently scheduled to take place today, including Price’s clash against Dirk van Duijvenbode. For now, at least, fans will have to enjoy the remaining fixtures and pray that nobody else tests positive.
What is the prize money on offer for the 2022 World Darts Championship?
As per Metro, here is the prize money on offer for darts players at this year’s World Darts Championship.
Winner – £500,000
Runner-up – £200,000
Semi-finalists – £100,000
Quarter-finalists – £50,000
Fourth round losers – £35,000
Third round losers – £25,000
Second round losers – £15,000
First-round losers – £7,500
Featured Image Credit: Getty