IIn the London “Ally Pally” the disaster announced by the mayor looks like this: 3,000 darts fans shout their songs loudly in a small hall, drink a lot of beer and organize a party that was normal and harmless before the corona pandemic. At the World Cup, the world association PDC is making every effort not to exceed the minimum standards of the already lax British government in times of the Omikron variant. And with the positive test by star Michael van Gerwen, the organizers are now threatened with great chaos at player level.
“Now this tournament is worth less,” said world champion and main competitor Gerwyn Price from Wales after the elimination of the three-time world champion from the Netherlands, who tested positive immediately before his third-round match scheduled for Tuesday evening and was then withdrawn from the tournament. In the afternoon Price added: “The tournament should be postponed.” This is probably not the best option, “but an option that I would be happy with.” So far, the PDC has not announced anything in this direction.
Van Gerwen said he was “really disappointed, confused, angry with how my World Cup ends. I would never have expected this result. ”His two compatriots Vincent van der Voort and Raymond van Barneveld had only tested positive the previous day. So the finding did not come out of nowhere. The World Cup tournament is currently acting like a big lottery. On Wednesday it caught the Englishman Dave Chisnall, who was in the semifinals last year. Like van Gerwen, he is eliminated without a fight, instead England’s Luke Humphires receives a bye for the round of 16.
The PDC is now in a self-inflicted dilemma. The show and staging-oriented association approached the World Cup with relatively generous rules and many quick tests instead of PCR tests. Now there have been two game cancellations since Christmas, which affects the value of the largest tournament. More could follow. Communication is monosyllabic and always follows the same pattern: player A has Corona, player B gets ahead. Not a word about further or additional protective measures. Instead, the other games are celebrated extra loud: a lot is “historic” or “epic” or “fantastic”. Corona, on the other hand, should remain a marginal aspect in the midst of weak crisis communication. It gets more and more bizarre.
The unsatisfactory situation for many outsiders now has a face in the longstanding Primus van Gerwen. Because in fact there has been harsh criticism of the overall situation in Alexandra Palace since the beginning of the title fights, which can be fully utilized despite the high Corona numbers and the spread of the new Omikron variant. While the ghost games are back across the board in Germany, there is a full house on the island – with 3G approval (vaccinated, recovered and negatively tested), which, according to a report in the “Bild-Zeitung”, is not even particularly strictly controlled.
The contrast is stark. While in the short time frame between Christmas and New Year’s Eve one player after the other fails due to positive corona tests, things just continue in the stands. Those responsible are not necessarily considered to be advocates of strict corona measures. PDC boss Barry Hearn wrote on December 18 with reference to Omikron via Twitter: “And are we seriously thinking about shutting down the economy and causing endless misery for millions of people?” The 73-year-old states that it is time to “To live with the virus”. Meanwhile, London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan had already declared a disaster almost two weeks ago and explained: “The increase in Omicron cases in our capital is very worrying.”
The PDC should try to push through the event until January 3rd with all its might and simply to endure further failures. Scotsman Peter Wright said, “We should stay away from other people and stay inside. When I get a delivery of food, I wash my hands and do everything I can to avoid getting the virus. You don’t want to be kicked out of the World Cup because of that. Nobody wants that. “
Contact, handshakes and hugs between the players should be avoided – at least on the target. The extravagant Wright came on stage on Tuesday evening before his 4-2 victory over Damon Heta not only in a colorful Christmas outfit with printed candles and balls, but also with a mouth and nose protection. The song “Don’t stop the party” by Pitbull rang out, and the largely unmasked fans jumped and sang. It was a fitting symbol.
Despite the circumstances, the game continued on Wednesday. One of the favorites, José de Sousa from Portugal, was surprisingly eliminated. The highly regarded Premier League finalist lost 4-3 to Scottish Alan Soutar in the afternoon, making him the third player from the top eight in the world to fail at the most important tournament of the year. Before that, the Dutchman van Gerwen had a positive corona test and Belgium’s Dimitri van den Bergh, who lost his second round match 1: 3 against the German Florian Hempel.