There has been speculation in several media and online forums about the fourth leg of the Phil Taylor V Dean Winstanley match in the Gibraltar Darts Trophy. From the youtube video below (apologies for the poor quality and no audio) we can quite clearly see that Taylor misses the double 12 shot of the checkout attempt yet game caller Russ Bray announces “game shot” to signify that Taylor has won the 4th leg. In my opinion you can see that Taylor clearly looks at the last dart but does not correct the score to the game caller which some people across the internet have labelled as ‘cheating’. What he done may not be technically cheating but his actions of not correcting his own score could bring the sport into disrepute
The PDC have sent out an official statement stating that both Phil Taylor and the game caller were unaware of the incident. PDC Tournament Director Tommy Cox confirmed: “I spoke with both players and the referee and Phil offered to replay the match, which under the rules is not an option, and Dean confirmed that he wants to put the incident behind him and concentrate on his next event. “I would like to reassure the public that that fairness, transparency and integrity are top priorities of the PDC and this unusual episode is purely attributable to a rare human error from the referee.”
It has been reported that Taylor has offered to replay the match against Dean Winstanley but I cannot see how that would be of benefit to either player. What is more at issue here is the fact that Taylor got an added advantage in a crucial stage of a match in which he won, and he went on to win the tournament winning a cheque of £20,000 pounds in the process. From the statement we can see that the PDC wish to take no action on the mistake and to not investigate Taylor for what could be construed as a deceiving action. It is unfair to the other players of the tournament that nothing has happened and it gives the perception that the organization is showing a clear bias towards the reigning World Champion.
Of course this isn’t the first time Phil Taylor has been in controversy lately. After winning his World Championship semi-final match against Raymond Van Barneveld he can be clearly seen to swear at his opponent afterwards while threatening him while Barney just appears to be congratulating him on his win. No action was taken on Taylor’s behaviour as he apologized to Raymond afterwards on a Sky Sports News interview the next day. There are other incidents where the PDC have turned a blind eye to other actions that have taken place which I won’t go into here but the organisation could be seen to be giving Taylor preferential treatment here which would be unfair to the other players competing on the PDC circuit. A clear opportunity has been missed to make a statement clarifying this kind of issue. Although the BDO may not have the high quality of players on their circuit, they did react quickly to the Martin Fitzmaurice scandal that happened earlier this year by relieving the MC of his duties.It is unfortunate that it is unlikely that the PDC will sanction Taylor with a penalty for his (non) actions
A penalty such as a £10,000 fine to Taylor would have been appropriate here in my opinion. Instead of Taylor offering to replay the match against Winstanley, the World Champion should perhaps donate the winnings of the tournament to charity as a goodwill gesture considering the negative impact this has had. It would be the best way to correct this ‘mistake’ as I am sure many people will view Taylor’s winning of the Gibraltar Darts Trophy as a very hollow victory