Saturday, 23 May 2020

Where do we go from here?

We're still in somewhat of a holding pattern in terms of what the PDC is doing regarding their schedule, which is fairly frustrating for everyone. Who knows what's been discussed in private between the PDC, PDPA and other parties, but let's piece together what we do know at the moment:

- The Home Tour's scheduled through until June 5th
- The PDC have stated they'll announce something in relation to that event by that date, so the logical thing to do from a publicity point of view would be for Uncle Barry to do some sort of good news promo prior to the final Home Tour group for the ratings
- Apart from the Matchplay there are no main tour events scheduled prior to Hungary in September, there's Premier League but that's it
- Priti Vacant has nuked the UK economy from orbit with idiotic quarantine measures that achieve very little and do nothing much
- The German Superleague doesn't finish until June 14th

As a result, what I'm anticipating them doing is the following:

- The Matchplay is announced to be pushed back to the last week in August, giving as much chance as possible for the event to take place with some fans in attendance, at the present timings I don't think that's in any way realistic given current overly defensive government policies
- The Pro Tour will return starting on July 11th at Wigan, where they already have their venue booked for the Challenge Tour. I don't think it's in any way realistic that the numbers in a Challenge Tour event can be "safely" managed (and I use those quotes on account of the only risk to >99% of Challenge Tour participants is that they pass it to others in vulnerable groups), even if they cut to just one event in a day, whereas somewhere that's capable of running a 32 board event with Challenge Tour numbers is more likely to be able to do a Pro Tour
- This will allow a month's window for players from overseas to get into the UK, go to prison for two weeks (assuming Vacant doesn't do a 180) and then be good to go prior to the Pro Tour starting
- In the event that players are unable to travel back to the UK due to restrictions put in place by their home countries (I'm thinking this is mostly just Australia but there may be others), they will be permitted some sort of dispensation for major events, whereby if their earning rate in the events is such that they would have been able to qualify for a major they get a play in game against the last Pro Tour qualifier or something like that (in the event of the worlds, they can simply offer a wildcard)
- The schedule is then condensed to power through as many of the Pro Tour events as possible in order to catch up to where we would have been prior to the coronaplague restrictions, as well as possibly one or two of the Euro Tour events, behind closed doors but keeping the same format (some work around for what would have been the host nation qualifiers would be needed, but as it seems like the ones cancelled have mostly been in Germany, they would probably either be able to arrange a stack of qualifiers there and/or give wildcards using Superleague standings)

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