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DRA Slaps Cheating Darts Player With 8-Year Ban

November 27, 2020

- Grant Whittington

Northern Irishman and former BDO World Championship quarter-finalist Kyle McKinstry has been given an 8-year ban by the Darts Regulation Authority (DRA) for match-fixing.

McKinstry received a six-and-a-half-year ban for fixing two matches, and an additional 18-month ban for his failure to provide an itemised phone bill requested of him by the darts authority. Originally from Tandragee, McKinstry was suspended in August following an alert passed on to the DRA by the Sportradar-powered Betting Integrity Association (BIA). The BIA informed the DRA that it had become aware of incidents indicative of suspicious betting involving McKinstry.

The two matches named by the DRA in its decision are a 5-0 loss to David Evans (England) on April 30, and a 5-1 loss to Wessel Nijman (Netherlands) on May 2. Though Nijman was banned for five years for the breaching of betting rules in October, Evans has been cleared of any possible involvement in sports betting corruption, the watchdog has confirmed.

McKinstry’s suspension runs from August 18, 2020, up to and including August 17, 2028.

Denial Of Nijman Match

McKinstry earlier this year at an October 17 disciplinary committee hearing conducted by the DRA admitted to the charge of having fixed his match with England’s David Evans. He however denied having fixed any aspect of the match opposite Nijman, as well as his alleged refusal to produce the requested itemised phone bill.

The former champion has since the ruling posted an apology to his official Facebook account, saying that he had made a bad error of judgement, and that this had happened during a particularly bad time in his life. He added that it was his firm hope that his punishment would act as a deterrent to anyone else considering the same course of action.

The plan now, concluded McKinstry’s post, is to keep on working hard while keeping his head down and waiting out the time in order to put the failure behind him. He said he hopes to come back better, bigger, and stronger.

It Was A Difficult Time

McKinstry also recently opened up about the incidents in an interview granted to a prominent Darts publication – revealing some of the context behind the scandal.

During the interview, McKinstry told of how he had experienced 2020 as one of the worst years of not only his professional career, but also his life in general. He spoke of how he had first lost his darts income as a result of the global health crisis, then his engineering job – and all in the space of only a few weeks.

Though he said he realised that he wasn’t the only one facing extremely difficult circumstances, it had been a desperate and perilous situation that had eventually driven him to unlawful and scandalous behaviour.

Online Match-Fixing

Both events involving McKinstry and match-fixing were played online. Neither were in any way connected with the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC).

According to DRA Chairman Nigel Mawer, the fact that McKinstry had been banned for competitions virtually streamed should be considered proof that any darts player found guilty of match-fixing – irrespective of the level of play – will be caught, disciplined, and made to face a lengthy and befitting ban from the sport.

Unlike Nijman, McKinstry initially denied the accusations raised against him. But after at first refusing to co-operate with the DRA’s investigation, he eventually performed a U-turn by admitting to the allegations.

The 34-year-old has also expressed the hope that he will eventually be given a second chance – both to prove his integrity in sport, as well as to rebuild his life.

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