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Luke Littler and Luke Humphries 'would turn down £500k' over controversial darts move

Paul Nicholson believes Luke Littler and Luke Humphries would gladly turn down an extra £500,000 to ensure the World Darts Championship remains at Alexandra Palace. PDC president Barry Hearn recently suggested that the World Championship could be moved to Saudi Arabia in the future, causing controversy within the sport.

The hypothetical move would likely see a huge increase in prize money. Humphries took home £500k for beating Littler in January’s final.

But former major winner Nicholson believes that even if Saudi Arabia doubled the prize money, most darts stars would prefer the prestige of Ally Pally.

He wrote in his Sporting Life column: “Imagine giving all 128 Tour Card holders this choice: Win the World Championship at Ally Pally and receive a cheque for £500,000 or win the World Championship in Saudi Arabia and receive a cheque for £1,000,000 – what would the majority choose?

“I’d be astonished if less than 80 per cent went for the first option. I think there’d be a few people out there who are a bit more money driven and wouldn’t care about the venue as long as they became world champion and pocketed the extra cash.

“But darts players value what it’s like to go to the Palace at Christmas time and the whole feeling around it. You’re not just turning up to play for money.

“Players are desperate to travel the planet just to get the chance to play there at Christmas time. Do you honestly think that Luke Littler and Luke Humphries were talking about the prize money for a game of darts?

“Were they hell? They were thinking about the trophy and the story.”

It comes after Hearn said on TalkSPORT: “Go to Riyadh, we’ll come back to Ally Pally for something else.”

He continued: “I’m being facetious. What I’m saying is, ‘live in the real world’. My employers are the sportsmen and women we promote. I have the top players in snooker saying, ‘We don’t want to leave the Crucible because of the history’.

“But if I made the prize five times what it is now, every single one would go.”

The suggestion has already been criticised by darts star Michael Smith, who told the Mirror: “I think it’s crazy that we could ever go to Saudi for the World Championships, but even if we do move, just move into the bigger room at Ally Pally.

“Imagine Saudi to Manchester for Christmas and then flying back over. I couldn’t do it.”


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