Crowd restrictions for start of World Matchplay darts at Blackpool Winter Gardens

Just 40 per cent of those who have bought tickets for the first two days of next month’s Betfred World Matchplay darts championship in Blackpool will be allowed to attend.

Saturday, 26th June 2021, 8:00 am

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World Matchplay Darts in Blackpool: Reduced crowds expected for opening weekend

The Professional Darts Corporation confirmed that as of yesterday, the organisation has permission for a capacity of 803 for the three sessions across the opening Saturday and Sunday of its summer showpiece at the Winter Gardens (July 17 and 18).

The usual capacity for the event is 2000, meaning around 40 per cent of ticket holders will be able to attend.

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The World Matchplay returns to the Winter Gardens next month, having been played elsewhere for the first time in its history last year

Admission to those sessions will be restricted to those with seating tickets, with standing areas closed.

A PDC statement reads: “We regret to announce that due to the logistical impracticalities of enforcing social distancing with spectators who have standing tickets, all purchasers of standing tickets for those two days will be contacted next week and offered a deferral of their tickets to the corresponding session in 2022 or a full refund.

“All season ticket holder tickets will be honoured, although season ticket holders should note that their seat location may change and on a small number of occasions their group may not be all seated together for those three sessions, particularly if they have purchased more than six season tickets together.

“All remaining seats will be allocated by way of a random draw amongst ticket holders across both remaining categories of ticket – table and balcony. This draw will take place early next week and ticket holders will be notified directly of the outcome of the ballot.

“Ticket holders will only be placed in the draw to which their purchased tickets relate, and the draw will be for complete groups (ie. if you purchased six tickets, you will receive either six, or no tickets in the ballot). If you have purchased tickets for different sessions across these two days, each purchase will be treated separately as each session is drawn separately.

“PDCTV Annual Members who purchased in the priority sale window will be drawn first, and any remaining seats will be drawn from ticket purchasers who purchased in the general sales window.”

The PDC had forewarned ticket holders of possible restrictions for July 17 and 18 following this month’s government announcement that the easing of all remaining anti-Covid restrictions would be delayed by four weeks until July 19.

The statement continued: “If it becomes possible for the capacity to be increased again before the event, ticket holders who missed out in this ballot will be given priority to purchase any tickets which were not previously available.

“The PDC would like to thank our sponsors and partners for their understanding of these circumstances and can confirm that due to this co-operation, fewer than four per cent of tickets for these sessions will be allocated to sponsors and partners.”

The organisers confirmed their plans to operate at full capacity for the remaining seven days of the championship (July 19-25), meaning ticket holders for these days need take no action.

The final qualifying competitions are taking place to determine the 16 players to join the world’s top 16 in the 32-strong field at the Winter Gardens.

The championship was staged annually at the venue from 1994 until 2019.

Last year’s event was moved behind closed doors in Milton Keynes due to the pandemic.

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