The Metrodome will host official competitive sport for the first time in more than six months this weekend.
The PDC darts will use the Barnsley venue for several events over the next months, starting today with three days of the ‘Unicorn Development Tour’, then a stage of the World Youth Championships on Monday.
The Unicorn Challenge Tour and the Women’s Series return in October. All the events will be behind-closed doors and continue the venue’s history of hosting darts, including top players like Michael van Gerwen.
The Metrodome’s Richard Bailey said: “It’s fantastic for us to have sport back at the Metrodome. We wouldn’t have wanted to put any event on if it wasn’t safe. The council’s safety advisory group have inspected the venue and gone through our guidelines as well as what has been provided by the PDC. They are confident we can run this event. “It’s behind-closed-doors and it’s professional sport.”
Coun Sir Steve Houghton CBE, leader of Barnsley Council and chair of the Barnsley Outbreak Control Engagement Board, said: “We’re taking a planned approach to assessing potential events and mass gatherings in Barnsley. We run a safety advisory group, made up of key partners from across the borough, to assess each application for an event or a mass gathering against a set of South Yorkshire-wide agreed principles.
"The South Yorkshire guiding principles focus on protecting the health and wellbeing of our residents and communities, as well as supporting the local businesses and the economy. The safety advisory group are working closely with the Barnsley Premier Leisure and the Professional Darts Company to ensure that their competition is carried out in a safe way, following government guidance.
“Managing the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19), and the safety of the public, must always be our first priority, while at the same time supporting the borough to recover from the effects of coronavirus (Covid-19). We’ll continue to review the latest evidence and our decisions will be based on the best science available.”
The Metrodome has also been a regular stop on the World Snooker calendar, as well as a venue for professional boxing shows. Bailey said: “World Snooker is giving indications that they are wanting to look to us for various events. Their calendar has been thrown into chaos and they want to use us as a key partner in England, because of restrictions abroad. Boxing isn’t something we will be looking to run until the government guidelines are different.”
Meanwhile, Darfield darts player Carl Wilkinson competed in the PDC Autumn Series in Niedernhausen, Germany, where he recorded the first nine-dart finish of his PDC career.