Gerwyn Price wants World Darts Championship to move for ‘level playing field’

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    Gerwyn Price is so scarred by dog-whistling crowd abuse at Alexandra Palace that he wants the World Championship moved around Europe.

    The 'Iceman' says the tournament deserves a “level playing field” instead of partisan factions among the fancy dress corps creating a hostile environment for darts players of certain nationalities – especially him. Price lifted the Sid Waddell Trophy at Ally Pally in 2021 behind closed doors when fans were barred by Boris Johnson's Christmas lockdown.

    ‌But he fears he may only rule the oche again if the Paddy Power PDC World Championship becomes a moveable feast which goes on tour. Price, who begins his quest for a second world title on Monday night against England's Connor Scutt, admitted: “I want to win it when the family's there, not watching on TV from 200 miles away.

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    “And I want to lift that trophy again when I can show it off and it's not locked up in my kitchen. I don't class 2021 as a win because it was sterile, it was like the Home Tour when we were playing in our living rooms.

    ‌“It may be the World Championship, but for me it's not the real thing when it's behind closed doors. Not for me, it isn't.

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    “Can I win it again? Sure… when it goes to Wales, Germany or wherever. That's what happens with other sports – their World Cup or World Championship is played in different countries.

    “I think it's only right that the tournament should move to different parts of the world, and then I'll have a better chance.

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    “Germany is becoming a huge market for the PDC and darts is growing massively all over Europe, so if they were to move it to Germany, Holland, Ireland, Scotland, Wales or Belgium I don't see any reason why they can't host it.

    ‌“I know darts has a lot of history invested in Ally Pally, but things change and you have to move on and move with the times.

    ‌“It used to be at the Circus Tavern, and with the way the game is going, and the strength in depth in all corners of the world, I think the tournament needs to have a new home now.”

    Asked if the World Championship should mirror the Eurovision Song Contest, where the winning nation earns the right to host the next competition, Price laughed: “Yes, but if it goes to Wales, it would be there every year!

    ‌“I think that's a good idea with the World Cup, but I was thinking maybe you could have it two years in London, two years in Holland, two years in Germany, two years in Wales.

    ‌“Just change it up and make the game a bit fairer. The effect of a home crowd does help – Luke Humphries has just won his first majors in front of English crowds, I won the Premier League night in Cardiff, Ricardo Pietreczko won his first European Tour event in Germany.

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    “When Gary Anderson lost his first final at Ally Pally against Adrian Lewis, the crowd was against him – but if that match was played in Scotland, it might have been a different story. I know it's hard to get a level playing field, but it's more even if you get equal opportunities.

    ‌“Ally Pally isn't the biggest venue by any means – it doesn't hold as many fans as some of the Premier League venues. The game is getting bigger, there are bigger venues out there, so it's time to have a change, and it can be done.”

    ‌The PDC have a long-term contract with Alexandra Palace for staging the World Championship and Mirror Sport understands there is no chance of the tournament being moved.

    ‌Even Jonny Clayton, who partnered Price to World Cup glory for Wales last summer, does not concur with his compatriot's views on taking the big top away from Ally Pally and pitching it elsewhere.

    The 'Ferret' said: “I know where Gezzy's coming from, and I wouldn't mind playing in front of a Welsh crowd at the World Championship, but I think it's just meant to be at Ally Pally.

    ‌"Logistically it's easier for everyone to get into and out of London at Christmas, whether that's players or fans.”

    • Gerwyn Price
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