Leicester to continue as host of darts major as PDC weighs up future

Leicester will remain the venue for the World Grand Prix darts for at least one more year after the 2022 tournament, which kicks off tonight.

Between 2001 and 2019 the unique double-start event was held at Dublin’s Citywest Hotel and Convention Centre. Due to the Covid pandemic, the Grand Prix was played at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena in 2020 before being moved to Leicester’s Morningside Arena.

The East Midlands venue is hosting this year’s event and the 2023 tournament with the PDC weighing up the long-term future of the tournament, with the Citywest still unavailable as it is hosting Ukrainian refugees.

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“The CityWest has been used as a Covid centre in Ireland for the last two years and it’s now being used to house Ukrainians for at least this year and next year,” PDC chief executive Matt Porter told Daily Star Sport.

“We know we can stage events well in Leicester. We have done so before. It’s certainly going to be the host for the event this year and next year. We just have to make a decision beyond that.”

Porter said it was unlikely that the Grand Prix would be moved away from the UK and Ireland at this stage.

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Tonight and Tuesday will see the first round fixtures take place. Reigning champion Jonny Clayton will be defending the title he claimed for the first time 12 months ago, which he sealed with victory over 2020 champion Gerwyn Price – the top seed at this year’s event.

World Champion Peter Wright and five-time World Grand Prix winner Michael van Gerwen will also be among the eight seeds in the 32-player field, which includes three debutants this year.

The first round will see 16 matches take place across the opening two nights, as Clayton begins the defence of his title against 2020 runner-up Dirk van Duijvenbode tonight.

First round matches

Monday, October 3 (7pm)

Callan Rydz v Krzysztof Ratajski

Brendan Dolan v Stephen Bunting

Chris Dobey v Luke Humphries

Dimitri Van den Bergh v Dave Chisnall

(7) Jonny Clayton v Dirk van Duijvenbode

(2) Peter Wright v Kim Huybrechts

(3) Michael van Gerwen v Gary Anderson

(6) Jose de Sousa v Adrian Lewis

Tuesday, October 4 (7pm)

Madars Razma v Ryan Searle

Ross Smith v Andrew Gilding

Danny Noppert v Gabriel Clemens

Joe Cullen v Damon Heta

(8) Rob Cross v Daryl Gurney

(5) James Wade v Martin Lukeman

(1) Gerwyn Price v Martin Schindler

(4) Michael Smith v Nathan Aspinall


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