Former world champion Jelle Klaasen has released a statement confirming that he will be unavailable for selection for the upcoming World Cup of Darts, due to personal commitments.
Klaasen admitted he was very disappointed to be missing out on the 2016 competition, but said: ‘I would like to wish the Netherlands’ representatives the very best of luck in the competition.’
Klaasen has recently overtaken five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld on the PDC Order of Merit, subsequently becoming the second highest-ranked Dutch player in the world. Van Barneveld began the year in 9th position, but he has decided not to compete in Pro Tour events until September due to his hectic schedule.
This enabled Klaasen to overtake Barney on the Order of Merit, and with RvB not competing in the upcoming Players Championship double-header in Coventry, the 49-year-old would not be able to overtake Klaasen before the cut-off.
The world-rankings are the criteria used by the PDC to select the participants for the World Cup. Typically, the two highest-ranked players from each nation represented will be selected.
However, there had been constant speculation about whether Klaasen would compete alongside Michael van Gerwen due to the well-documented animosity between them.They faced off in last weekend’s European Darts Matchplay quarter-final, and once again, there was no handshake nor no eye-contact between the pair.
Klaasen’s withdrawal means that Raymond van Barneveld will compete alongside Van Gerwen for the third year in succession. Raymond has competed in every World Cup event since the tournament’s inaugural staging in 2010, where him and Co Stompe defeated Wales’ Mark Webster and Barrie Bates to win the title.
Van Barneveld and Van Gerwen then tasted success together in the 2014 World Cup, where they thrashed England’s duo of Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis in the final. Nevertheless, They were unable to defend their title last year, after being edged out by Scotland’s Gary Anderson and Peter Wright in the last four.
Raymond and Michael will be hoping to secure a third World Cup crown for the Netherlands when the tournament gets under-way on June 2nd in Frankfurt.