18 Nov 2018

'Fartgate' explodes at darts champs

7:50 am on 18 November 2018

Players set more than just their arrows flying at the Grand Slam of Darts this week, with opponents rowing over who had emitted noxious smells during their match.

Two time world champion Scotsman Gary Anderson, 47, reached the quarter-finals but his Dutch opponent Wesley Harms, 34, said he was affected by the "fragrant smell" Anderson had left as they played.

"It'll take me two nights to lose this smell from my nose," Harms told Dutch television station RTL7L.

However, world number 4 Anderson said the smell had come "from the table side" at the Aldersley Leisure Village venue, in Wolverhampton, suggesting it was from the crowd.

"If the boy thinks I've farted he's 1,010 percent wrong. I had a bad stomach once on stage before and admitted it. So I'm not going to lie about farting on stage," he was quoted as saying by the BBC.

Gary Anderson denies he was the 'fartgate' culprit.

Gary Anderson denies he was the 'fartgate' culprit. Photo: All Rights Reserved

"Every time I walked past there was a waft of rotten eggs so that's why I was thinking it was him. It was bad. It was a stink, then he started to play better and I thought he must have needed to get some wind out.

"If somebody has done that they need to see a doctor. Seemingly he says it was me but I would admit it."

"We've got to get to the bottom of this," joked Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) chairman Barry Hearn.

Hearn told BBC Sport the Darts Regulation Authority had the power to fine or suspend players guilty of gamesmanship or a lack of professionalism but the the controversy was "unique" in his experience of professional darts.

"It's the first time I've ever heard of such a contentious - almost contagious - incident," he said.

Hearn has helped transform darts in recent years with sellout arena shows involving the likes of Anderson and other world champions such as Michael van Gerwen and Rob Cross.

It is the second most-viewed sport on Sky, behind football.

"On a slightly more serious note, this is a top-level competition involving highly skilled sportsmen - so we have no intention of renaming the event the 'Grand Slam of Farts' as some have suggested," added Hearn.

This is not the first time a sport has tried to clear the air after someone was alleged to have broken wind.

The Canadian snooker player Bill Werbeniuk caused a stir when he had a bout of flatulence during a World Championship match at the Crucible in Sheffield.

"It was the most enormous noise, but what happened next was genius comic timing," recalled Hearn, who is also chairman of World Snooker.

Canadian Werbeniuk turned round to an elderly woman in the crowd and said: "Was that you?"