Dutch darts legend Raymond Van Barneveld reveals positive Covid test after crashing out of World Championship… following warning to organisers that booze-fuelled event is ‘virus spreading on steroids’
- Raymond Van Barneveld tested positive after losing in World Championships
- Dutch darts legend revealed he felt unwell after his defeat on Thursday night
- Competition organisers insist the necessary safeguards are all in place
- Players and staff must produce a negative Covid test result upon return to event
World Darts Championship organisers insist all necessary precautions are in place to safeguard players and fans after Raymond Van Barneveld’s positive test for Covid-19.
Five-time world champion Van Barneveld revealed he had tested positive after his 3-1 defeat by Rob Cross at the Alexandra Palace on Thursday night.
The 54-year-old Dutchman said he did not have any symptoms during the second-round tie but began to fell unwell post-match and later provided a positive test.
Raymond Van Barneveld tested positive for Covid after losing at the World Championship
There have been fears that the tournament could be a super spreader event in London
A Professional Darts Corporation spokesperson said: ‘We have been made aware of Raymond’s positive test and send him our best wishes for a speedy recovery.
‘We are following approved protocols and have appropriate regulations in place around the William Hill World Darts Championship, one of which is that all players and staff must produce a negative Covid test result on their return to the event after the Christmas break.’
Van Barneveld announced to his fans on Twitter that he had contracted the virus.
He said: ‘During the match I didn’t have any symptoms, but afterwards I started to realise that I was developing a shortness of breath and fever.
‘I directly called my manager Ben De Kok and he advised to go straight to my hotel room and to not give interviews in order to avoid any risk.
Some fans wear masks but many opt not to in the booze-fuelled event at Alexandra Palace
Rob Cross won the match but there will be concerns he may have caught the virus
The Omicron variant is on the rampage and health experts warned against the competition going ahead with 3000 fans descending on the event every evening
‘At the moment I do suffer from fever and serious tiredness. The upcoming days I will stay in quarantine in London.
‘We already spoke with Rob Cross and the PDC about the current situation. Stay safe.’
WHAT FANS NEED TO ATTEND ALLY PALLY
Ticket holders need to demonstrate their Covid status by providing one of the following:
• Proof of full vaccination
• Proof of natural immunity based upon a positive PCR test within 180 days of the event and following completion of the required self-isolation period
• Proof of a negative NHS Lateral Flow Test taken on the day of the event
Van Barneveld, one of only three players to win the world crown five times, retired in 2019, but returned to the sport last year and was attending his 29th World Championship.
The World Darts Championship has been widely criticised for the booze-fuelled crowd of 3000 people a night potentially spreading Covid like wildfire.
A public health expert, Professor Keith Neal, recently told Sportsmail: ‘I would tell the local authorities do not let it happen with a crowd.
‘It is Covid spreading on steroids. There is no concept of social distancing and they will not be wearing masks because they are drinking.’
The annual tournament, famous for its feel-good atmosphere, is allowed to go ahead with fans under the Government’s Plan B measures.
Darts fans must produce an NHS Covid Pass upon entry. That includes proof of full vaccination or a negative lateral flow test taken on the day of the event.
There will be real fears now from organisers that one or more of the remaining players in the competition will test positive for Covid and completely disrupt the order of play and integrity of the tournament.