Dimitri van den Bergh and Jose de Sousa will both make their full Unibet Premier League Darts debuts in 2021, which will be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The new campaign had been due to begin at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena on February 4 but has been pushed back because of heightened Covid-19 restrictions, with the first nine events postponed until a later date.
PDC officials are hopeful that the league season can begin around Easter – depending on UK government guidelines – and are still reviewing their possible options, with the tournament reverting to a 10-player format this year.
New world champion and world No 1 Gerwyn Price, Michael van Gerwen, Peter Wright, Gary Anderson, Rob Cross, Glen Durrant and Nathan Aspinall will all also feature, while the final player will be announced after The Masters later this month.
“We feel Premier League darts is an event which deserves a full arena as much as every event does, but it thrives off the energy and atmosphere that they create,” PDC Chief Executive Matt Porter told Sky Sports.
“We’ll be looking to delay the start of Premier League darts, probably until around Easter time, so we can hopefully start to get crowds back into the arenas.
“Obviously we’re not just in the four nations of the UK, but the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany as well, so that’s seven different sets of regulations. By buying ourselves a couple of extra months then hopefully we’ll be looking at being able to welcome fans back through the doors.”
The bottom two players following Judgement Night after nine games will be eliminated from the event, with a further seven league nights then taking place ahead of the season-ending Play-Offs.
World Matchplay winner Van den Bergh gets to play his first full season, having appeared as a one-off “challenger” during the 2019 campaign, while Grand Slam of Darts champion De Sousa will make his maiden Premier League appearance.
Durrant will return as defending champion after finishing his debut season with a victory over Aspinall, while five-time Premier League champion Van Gerwen and two-time winner Anderson will be aiming to regain the trophy in 2021.
Former world champions Wright and Cross, Premier League runners-up in 2017 and 2019 respectively, both feature once again, with Price involved for the fourth year running as he looks to improve on back-to-back fifth-place finishes.
All events previously due to be held in February and March, along with the originally planned Judgement Night in Brighton on April 1, will be moved, with details of any rearranged dates to be confirmed at a later date.
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