We have now entered the month of December, which for fans of the darts means just one thing – the World Darts Championship. Forget Christmas and New Year’s, because over the two-and-a-half-week festive period there is non-stop darts action.
The first round starts at Alexandra Palace on December 15th with the much-anticipated final taking place on January 3rd, and – according to the darts World Championship odds – Michael van Gerwen is going to make amends for his crushing 7-3 defeat to Scotland’s Peter Wright in last year’s epic finale.
However, whilst the star-studded line-up is full of familiar faces, who will all be equally as eager to get their hands on the sought-after title, this year’s tournament is going to have a very different feel about it.
It has been revealed that a maximum of 1,000 people will be allowed to attend each session at the North London venue, with fans from areas in tiers one and two able to book a table of four for one household or support bubbles, with those in tier three, in line with the current government coronavirus guidelines, not allowed to attend at all.
Of course, it is nothing short of a positive that fans will be making a return to the sport for the first time since the UK Open in March, but the Ally Pally-based event is renowned for its electrifying atmosphere.
It has also been revealed that singing or chanting, along with costumes, have been banned, and for those watching at home, the thousand in attendance and the players alike, the event will undoubtedly not be the same without the boisterous singing or chanting that we have become so accustomed to over the years.
Even things as little as fancy dress have become such a big deal in recent times. A lot of time and effort goes into the decision making on what costumes to wear, and it adds a certain level of fun to the tournament. But this year, there will be no bunch of mates dressed as a box of crayons or a double act in marathon gear and silly wigs pretending to be the iconic ‘118’ men.
Instead, organisers have confirmed that fans must wear face masks at all times, except when sat at their table, and all food and drink must be ordered via the event’s mobile app.
“Unfortunately, for this year only, we are unable to permit any spectators on site in fancy dress,” the PDC said.
“Christmas jumpers, however, are allowed.”
They also confirmed that whilst you can ‘encourage your favourite player’, singing or chanting may lead to your removal from the event.
“You will be able to encourage your favourite players from your table,” the organisers added.
“Failure to adhere to requests from event security to comply with this may lead to your removal from the event.”
This could have a negative effect on the darts players, who are so used to making their way to the stage with the chosen theme song playing and thousands cheering their name, but like professionals from all sports, they will need to adapt to the new surroundings, and quickly, if they want to have a shot at winning.
How the event goes down as a whole remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure – it’s going to be one of the strangest World Championships of all time.