Row brewing around Fallon Sherrock’s possible inclusion in Premier League Darts line-up

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Prior to the World Championship, PDC chairman Eddie Hearn said Sherrock was firmly in consideration for a Premier League spot.

“Right now, Fallon is the flagbearer for the growth and development of women’s darts because she has the profile to inspire a new generation of women’s darts players and she is one of, if not, the main reason why that investment has come from the PDC,” he said.

“If you’re going to get growth at a younger level across females in darts, she’s the kind of person that’s going to inspire that.

“When she broke through at the Worlds in 2019 you wondered whether it would be a one-off, but she’s proved it’s not. For me, with a commercial hat on, she has to be considered for the Premier League.

“Fans will want her in, broadcasters will want her in, but there is a real feeling from the PDC board that the Premier League is an event that rewards players for performances and consistency over the period and we’re starting to now see that consistency from Fallon Sherrock. You cannot ignore the profile and the noise it creates for darts.”

‘Sherrock’s performance against Beaton wasn’t good enough to warrant a Premier League spot’

Support for her inclusion is far from universal within the sport, however. Sky Sports commentator and four-time world semi-finalist Wayne Mardle tipped Sherrock for a Premier League spot during her Grand Slam of Darts run in November where she lost to new world champion Peter Wright in the quarter-finals.

But Mardle said he had changed his mind after Sherrock’s early World Championship exit.

“I was waxing lyrical during the Grand Slam saying why not consider her for a Premier League place because of the way she was playing,” he said. “But I really do think that’s got to be forgotten about and be on the backburner because that performance [against Steve Beaton] wasn’t good enough to warrant a Premier League spot.”

Fellow commentator and three-time world champion John Part told The Sun: “I think it would be hard to pick Fallon with the current format. She is capable of playing, but if I was Fallon or representing her, I probably wouldn’t want her to do it.

“Yes, it is challenging and a great experience in a lot of ways, but it can really bash you as well. It can be unforgiving.

“Commercially, yeah, it would be good in a lot of ways to have Fallon in it, but I don’t think it would be good for Fallon. And I am not sure it is fair to the other players.

“You cannot undercut somebody that maybe is entirely deserving without question with something which might be publicity.”

Kim Huybrechts, who reached the third round at the recent World Championship, said: “I think I’m going to get a lot of responses, but the Fallon hype is getting a bit too much to be honest.

“She’s very good but the hype is getting a bit too big. Let the girl be who she wants to be. Let her play darts and do what she’s good at. Forget the media circus, just let her play darts.

“Premier League? She has a good chance with Sky. Does she deserve it? I don’t think so.”

Recent editions of the Premier League have seen the top four players in the world automatically qualify, with six other players chosen as wildcards. Sherrock did feature for one night in 2020 under an additional challenger format that was dropped last year.

This year’s Premier League is currently due to start on February 3 in Cardiff, although strict Covid measures in Wales mean a crowd would not be allowed under existing rules.

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