Matt Porter: Let's Hope 2020 it's one-off

By Mathew Porter 14/09/2020

There is no doubt that 2020 has been the most challenging by far. Trying to organise events in such a volatile environment is both frustrating and satisfying at the same time. It has been pointless trying to predict the future.

But little did I know that this year so much planning for the PDC would hinge on the Prime Minister addressing the nation at 8pm on a Tuesday night. The latest restrictions announced on September 22 present us with further hurdles, perhaps even bigger to surmount. But we will not refrain from continually pushing to get live sport events hosted in safe environments for our players, officials, and fans.

Obviously, the fans right now can mainly only watch from the comfort of their armchairs. That’s not our desire but it is something beyond our control. We are working within Government guidelines to keep the sport going. It is paramount to us for the well-being of our sta , players and officials, financially and mentally during what has undoubtedly been the toughest year we can all remember. Naturally, all attention is turning to the World Championship. In terms of our planning, I wouldn’t say we have wrinkles - we have great big creases. There is no defifinite plan - other than it will take place.

At this stage, we don’t know what the scenario will be. We may have zero percent of fans allowed, it could be 10, 50, or, as we’d like, 100 percent. But at the PDC we are independent, creative, and flexible, so we can react quickly. As long as we have a month’s notice, we can sell tickets. But at this stage, our main priority is to make sure we run the World Championship. Everything else we will just deal with at the time and achieve the best we can at that given moment. The calendar this year has been decimated, tournaments at different venues, no fans at most. But everything in 2020 has been different, it’s a fact we need to accept. And hope that’s it’s a one-off!

Let’s remain positive. The recent World Series of Darts was particularly pleasing to have fans at the event. The three-days went extremely well and proves that it is possible. I have to pay huge respect to the officials and staff of the PDC and PDC Europe and the venues for delivering such a slick operation in trying circumstances and restrictions. The new normal is not easy to achieve. The players are also delivering top-quality drama on stage. Whatever the situation, the nature of this sport remains hugely absorbing. There are so many fascinating stories to play out over the next few months.

Lastly, I must pay tribute to the loyal darts fans who continue to support us in huge numbers across the world. We will keep working hard to deliver the best we can.

----------ENDS----------

Matthew Porter is Chief Executive of the Professional Darts Corporation.

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