Darts fans targeted and have beer thrown over them because they had Welsh flag
A group of darts fans from Wales, who were at Alexandra Palace last night to support defending world champion Gerwyn Price in his PDC World Championship quarter-final clash against Michael Smith, have spoken out about how they were subjected to vile abuse because they had a Welsh flag.
Tyler Richards and two friends from Pencoed, who are massive darts fans and regularly attend events, were targeted by English fans who threw beer and threatened them at the end of the match because they were supporting the Welshman.
However, they now say the authorities have to take action after the match and atmosphere turned ugly as Price crashed out in a thriller – despite pulling off a magical nine dart finish.
English people targeting and throwing beer over us after the match because we had a Welsh flag is hilarious, great people honestly🤣
— Tyler Richards🏴 (@TheRealTR19) January 2, 2022
At one point, as the Welshman looked close to clinching a place in the semi-final, he stopped the match to point out to the referee a group who were abusing him.
Throughout the week, Price has been subjected to vile xenophobic chants and constant abuse.
Tyler believes the authorities at the PDC (Professional Darts Corporation) now need to urgently act – both on the abuse of Gerwyn Price and the drunken, ugly atmosphere of the crowd.
“During the match it wasn’t too bad with a few ‘sheep sh*ggers’ chants towards us lightheartedly but the more the match went on, more beer got consumed, it was more about celebrating right in front of us every time Smith won a leg/set then in the last set it was getting quite tense and a few boys behind us started getting quite nasty, then once the last dart went in they were pointing and celebrating in our faces.
“Then as we were clapping both players and lifting the flag for Gezzy to see, there was beers being flung at us and emptied over us calling us sheep sh*ggers, a few were trying to wind us up to retaliate but we just left it be with beers being flung at us again.
“In the back of your mind you know everyone has had a drink or 10 so it could very quickly escalate and get out of hand, so we quickly got out of there.”
The Welsh darts fan said the vile chants Price faced through the match should be called what it was – hateful xenophobia.
“The Gezzy abuse was horrid,” said Tyler. “He got called every name under and got told he was the most hated person there, constantly booing him – except the nine darter which they all loved which is ironic. Then as he was taking his throw someone was letting out a shrill high pitched noise just as he was taking it. Xenophobia at its finest.
“The abuse of Gezzy should never have got this far, I think a lot of the onus is on the PDC for not taking action. When they needed to really clamp down on it they just let it happen and now Gezzy can’t play his game anymore because he’s playing against more than just his opponent these days. It needs to be dealt with so he has the same amount of fairness as everyone else.”
Tyler, who was at the match with mates Matthew Roberts and Ian Burnell, travelled up early for the quarter-finals yesterday, and will be at the semis tonight and the finals tomorrow.
The Welshman loves his darts and thinks it’s now time to move the World Championships to other countries to avoid a repeat of the unpleasant scenes that were witnessed last night.
“I saw one suggestion about maybe moving the worlds to Netherlands or maybe even moving it to a different country every year – maybe even the home of the winner – so the crowds can be a bit fairer as we’ve definitely missed the Dutch and Germans in the crowd this year,” he said.
“Another idea is maybe being a lot tighter on the eligibility of purchasing tickets for the tournaments so it isn’t easy to randomly pick up a ticket, with tighter priority groups.”
Tyler admitted that despite the unpleasantness of Gerwyn Price’s exit – both on stage and off – he’s looking forward to the rest of the World Championships.
“It should be a belter,” he said. “We can sit back and enjoy whoever the winner will be now instead of being on the edge of my seat for Gezzy.”
In response to his defeat at the hands of Michael Smith, Gerwyn Price today issued a defiant message, saying that he will be back stronger than ever.
In a message on his Instagram, he wrote: “Absolutely gutted to go out in the last eight of the World Championships having worked so hard the last few months. So proud of myself for just being me and playing the best I can even with all the hurdles in front of me.
“I will get stronger. I will come back better. I will practice harder. I will sacrifice more. I will succeed. I will do everything it takes to be the best.
“I will be back. Class is permanent.”
The Welshman also wrote that he now believed it was time to move the World Championships to other home countries and Europe.
He said: “it’s only fair if the World Championships are played in each country. Wales, Scotland, Ireland, England, Europe.
“Next Year in Wales please.”