Justin Pipe claims that he’s been left ‘flabbergasted’ and ‘heartbroken’ after being charged by the Darts Regulation Authority for gamesmanship and bringing the sport into disrepute, following the ‘cough-gate’ scandal that erupted at last month’s World Championship.
‘The Force’ was embroiled in major controversy last month after being accused of deliberately coughing whilst his first-round opponent Bernie Smith threw at double for victory at the Alexandra Palace. The New Zealand qualifier missed match darts at D20 and D10 respectively, as Pipe edged through in a gruelling tie-break.
Nevertheless, the Taunton ace was heavily criticised for the incident on social media and Sky Sports pundit Wayne Mardle gave his honest assessment of events, branding his behaviour as ‘despicable’ and ‘disgusting’.
Pipe was fined £3,000 by the Darts Regulation Authority last Monday and given ‘a formal warning as to his future behaviour’, after being found guilty of ‘coughing at match dart with the intention of putting off opponent- alleged gamesmanship and bringing the sport into disrepute’.
The 46-year-old maintained his innocence in the aftermath of the event, insisting he would never do anything to put off an opponent. However, following the verdict, he spoke exclusively to The Sun’s Phil Lanning, where he revealed that the DRA’s decision had left him ‘heartbroken’.
Pipe admitted: “I’m flabbergasted and heartbroken to be totally honest. The entire episode has left me bewildered. The facts are simply that neither my opponent Bernie Smith nor referee Paul Hinks made a complaint or said that I coughed to put him off.
“Neither of them heard a noise. I have a message from Bernie saying he heard nothing. Surely that is the end of it? This wasn’t even an issue. It only became an issue when it was blown out of all proportion on Sky Sports, that led to an avalanche of abuse aimed at me on social media and then when I played my next match against Phil Taylor.
Pipe continued: “My character has been assassinated, my wife and children have suffered continual abuse and the last two months has been horrendous for us all. I have no idea why this witch hunt was started but it is unacceptable and irresponsible to use such strong language against me like a cheat. I’m not a cheat and never have been.”
“Sadly I wasn’t even allowed to give my side of the story on TV following the so-called incident. It seems I’m being victimised for no apparent reason. It’s even more surprising considering the person who has created all this openly put off his opponent in a World Championship quarter-final a decade ago and won the match.
The full transcript of Pipe’s interview with Phil Lanning can be found in the following link: https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/5374947/justin-pipe-coughgate-exclusive-interview-aftermath/
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