Scottish world champion darts player Gary Anderson has revealed that he deliberately lost a match due to anti-English abuse suffered by his opponent.
Anderson, 44, from Eyemouth, lost a Premier League match against Adrian Lewis at Glasgow’s SECC in 2011 despite leading the tie 3-0 at one point.
He has now revealed that the reason behind his slump was the “disgraceful” abuse suffered by Lewis, who had beer thrown at him during his entrance and coins thrown onto the oche during the match.
Anderson allowed the 30-year-old Englishman to win eight legs in a row to secure an unlikely 8-3 victory.
Asked if he intentionally lost, Anderson said: “Yes. I didn’t want to win a game where that happened; I thought it was a disgrace.”
He added: “It was bad that night,” said Anderson, who beat Lewis 10-4 in the final of the competition later that year.
“I’m a proud Scotsman but when that happened, it sickened me. Aidy is a good friend of mine. It was terrible.”
“If I’m going to play a game, I’m going to play it right. With them doing that, Aidy couldn’t play with that going on.”
Anderson’s comments have caused uproar on social media with fans calling into question his professionalism and labelling him as guilty of match fixing.
One Twitter user said: “Gary Anderson had been very naive if he thinks it’s okay to openly tell everyone he lost on purpose, circumstances don’t matter.”
Another added: “Gary Anderson should be banned from playing professional darts due to admitting losing a premier league match on purpose.”
However there was also support from some fans, who said: “Fully behind Gary Anderson on this one, I remember that night, Lewis was getting coined while on the oche.”
Anderson has since attempted to clarify his comments releasing a statement on his official Twitter account: “I didn’t answer that question as a I meant too. I would never intentionally lose a match, nor step on to the oche and give anything other than my best, but that night I thought the crowd behaviour was so disgraceful I lost all my motivation to win and was completely unable to concentrate. It wasn’t a question of not wanting to win, I just found myself without the ability to do so because I felt so ashamed of what was happening I could not focus at all on playing and my game fell apart.”
Following the 2011 match Adrian Lewis described the behaviour of the crowd as “awful”.
He said: “Every time Gary was throwing, I was expecting something to hit me. It was awful. I thought at one point of walking off the stage for my own safety, it was that bad.”
Anderson, who beat Phil Taylor in January’s PDC World Championship final, says abuse of that magnitude is something he has rarely encountered on the darts circuit.
“I play all over the world and I had never seen it before,” he added. “It cheesed me off. I don’t know why it happened, and I hope it will never happen again.”
A spokesman for the Professional Darts Corporation which organises the Premier League competition said: “Although we can see how Gary’s comments may have been misconstrued, we have confidence in the integrity of Gary and all our players, and would not want a slip in an interview to undermine this.”