Justin Pipe has been fined £3,000 for coughing whilst his opponent was throwing at a double for the match during last month’s PDC World Championship at the Alexandra Palace.
Pipe was embroiled in major controversy last month after appearing to cough whilst his first-round opponent Bernie Smith threw at a double for the match. The New Zealand preliminary qualifier recovered from 2-0 down to force a deciding set, but missed darts at D20 and D10 for victory, as ‘The Force’ eventually prevailed in a tie-break.
Pipe went on to lose 4-0 in the second-round to eventual finalist Phil Taylor, but his case was brought before the Darts Regulation Authority (DRA), the sport’s governing body, on Monday 8th January.
The Taunton ace was found guilty of ‘gamesmanship’ and ‘bringing the sport into disrepute’ and was subsequently handed a £3,000 fine and given a formal warning as to his future conduct.
Having found himself at the centre of the alleged cheating scandal, the 46-year-old released a statement via the Professional Darts Corporation, where he strenuously denied any wrongdoing. He claimed: “I’m bitterly disappointed with the comments made on Sky Sports and it’s not nice for me and my family to hear.
“I would never do something to put another player off and Bernie didn’t say anything to me on the night. As far as I’m aware there is no issue from his side and this has been blown out of all proportion.”
Speaking after his second-round defeat to Taylor, Pipe vowed to clear his name, adding: “It looks awful. I said to my wife and children: ‘Wow that looks awful’, but there’s no noise. I held it back. It actually hurt me a little bit to hold it back, just like you do when you’re driving down the road and you’ve got to sneeze and you hold it back. I didn’t hide it.”
“I’ve been playing darts on TV for ten years. I know where the cameras are. I know they’re all around and I know there’s people with microphones on; nobody heard anything. It’s wrong.”
Nevertheless, Pipe was found guilty by the DRA and was also hit with a £250 fine for swearing in a post-match interview live on ITV4 at the Players Championship Finals back in November, where he went on to reach the semi-finals. However, as with all players, Pipe has the right to appeal under DRA rules.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC