Luke Humphries believes the World Darts Championship should remain in the UK and not go to Saudi Arabia.

Fans were left surprised as Cool Hand Luke was shown the exit earlier than anticipated at the weekend's Poland Darts Masters, edged out 5-6 by Michael Smith in the quarter-finals. The crown was later claimed by rising star Luke Littler, who beat Rob Cross in the final.

When quizzed about his views on darts' moving towards Olympic recognition and a potential shift toward Saudi Arabian tournaments during post-tournament chats, Humphries had some discerning words. He expressed his endorsement for darts' Olympic inclusion, stating: "Well, at the Olympic Games yes, I do think it should be there.

"I think right now in the UK it's probably the second or third biggest sport in our country to be honest. And I think it's growing and getting bigger in so many other countries, so I think it's probably the biggest sport that's not in the Olympic Games and I think it should be," reports the Express.

However, he painted a different picture when asked about swapping Alexandra Palace for Saudi sands, echoing the boxing world's move with the Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk superfight. He added: "Saudi Arabia, yeah it would be great to play there. I'm not an advocate for it to be the World Championships. I think the World Championships is where it belongs and that is Alexandra Palace, where we all want to play.

"That is one of them things where I feel like you have to be careful because the fans are what make us what we are." He also expressed his concerns about moving the event, saying: "So if you move away from Alexandra Palace and go somewhere else you could take away that little bit from the fans.

"Every year when we go to play the World Championships the fanbase seems to grow and you're nothing without the fans so I'd love the World Championships to stay at Alexandra Palace."

However, he's not against the idea of Saudi Arabia hosting a darts event, suggesting, "But I'd love to see an event in Saudi Arabia, maybe a World Series event or just something, because obviously the sport's growing over there as well."

Ally Pally has been the heart of darts since it hosted its first PDC World Championships in 2008, with Humphries himself clinching his inaugural title there earlier this year by defeating Luke 'The Nuke' Littler in a gripping 7-4 final. The victory places him among darting legends such as Phil Taylor, Michael Smith, and Michael van Gerwen, who have all triumphed in the prestigious tournament.

Van Gerwen previously voiced his support for a PDC event in Saudi Arabia, highlighting the potential benefits for the sport and its players. In a conversation with Mail Online back in May, the Dutch darting star remarked: "[It] will be great, I think.

"They wanna make sports big in that country. You saw the big boxing games there, the football there. For me, I don't mind where I play. I will be competing, and that's how it is."

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2024-06-17T13:32:46Z dg43tfdfdgfd