The PDC have released a statement amid the outbreak of Coronavirus confirming that players will be exempt from shaking hands with fellow players or officials at upcoming tournaments.
Coronavirus is reported to have killed over 3,000 people across the world and the World Health Organisation have labelled the epidemic as ‘unique’, admitting that they’ve never seen a virus that could transfer so easily between individuals.
The outbreak has also had a significant impact on the sporting calendar, with Football, Rugby and Golf among the sports affected. It’s caused chaos in Italy with several Serie A games suspended over the weekend, whilst Italy’s Six Nations clash against Ireland has also been postponed.
The PDC Asian Tour has been suspended until May with the possibility for further re-scheduling should the virus still pose a threat, whilst the Super Darts soft-tip event – a tournament 16-time world champion Phil Taylor was due to participate in, has also been put on hold.
The Pro Tour and Premier League has thus far been unaffected and the UK Open will go ahead as planned at Minehead from March 6-8, although the PDC released a statement on Monday clarifying the situation and issuing advice to fans and players that will be in attendance.
Players are permitted not to shake hands with their opponents or match officials should they wish, and neither are they forced to have any physical contact with their fellow professionals.
The PDC have also informed fans that it may be more difficult to obtain autographs and photographs from players on the Butlins complex, amid fears that interaction could cause them to contract the virus.
The PDC have also provided the following advice for any fans or players attending their events in the near future:
- Frequently clean your hands in soap and water, or with an alcohol-based hand rub. We will endeavour to provide additional hand sanitizers where possible;
- If you cough or sneeze, please cover your mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue – throw the tissue away immediately and wash your hands;
- Avoid contact with anyone who has a fever or cough;
- Avoid unnecessary contact with ‘high touch’ areas such as handrails, lift buttons, door handles, surfaces etc;
- If you experience difficulty breathing, have a high temperature or cough, please stay at home and contact a medical advisor by phone;
- Players are entitled, should they wish, not to shake hands or have any other form of physical contact with their opponent or officials (for example at the end of their match);
- Fans are advised that during this time players may not feel comfortable interacting with fans to their usual level and so it may be more difficult to obtain autographs or pictures with players. Fans are thanked for their understanding at this time.