Northern Ireland Darts Pro Hit With Eight-Year Ban for Match-Fixing

  • Kyle McKinstry was banned for six and a half years for fixing two matches
  • The Northern Ireland darts pro was banned another 18 months for withholding his phone bill 
  • McKinstry admitted to fixing his match with David Evans at a DRA hearing on October 17
  • The DRA chairman “welcomed” the phone billing penalty, saying the body requires cooperation
Three darts hitting the bullseye of a dartboard
A darts pro from Northern Ireland has been banned by the Darts Regulation Authority for eight years after he admitted to match-fixing. [Image:]

Player also fined over $6,000

The Darts Regulation Authority (DRA) has hit Northern Ireland professional Kyle McKinstry, 34, with an eight-year ban for match-fixing and failing to cooperate by not producing his itemized phone billing as required.

McKinstry, a former British Darts Organisation (BDO) World Championship quarter-finalist, received a six-and-a-half-year ban for fixing two matches in the online Modus “A Night at the Darts” series. The DRA slapped him with a further 18-month ban for failure to provide his phone bill. It also ordered the darts player to pay costs of £4,730.64 ($6,303.46).

The DRA is the governing body of professional darts, tasked with administering and enforcing rules and regulations and applying disciplinary procedures.

McKinstry lost 5-0 to Englishman David Evans on April 30 and 5-1 to Dutchman Wessel Nijman on May 2. Modus Sports, professional darts player management firm and the promoter of the darts series, tweeted the final league table following the matches:

On May 1, the Betting Integrity Association (BIA) informed the DRA of suspicious betting activity on both of the darts matches in question.

Facing up to the fix

McKinstry, from Tandragee in County Armagh, admitted fixing his match with Evans at a DRA disciplinary hearing on October 17. According to a DRA statement, McKinstry denied fixing “an aspect of his match with Nijman and failing to cooperate with the DRA by not producing his itemised phone billing as required.”

The DRA disciplinary committee, however, found all three charges proven.

“I made a bad error of judgement at a bad time in my life,” the BBC reported McKinstry as posting on his Facebook account on November 25.

something I will regret for the rest of my life”

“This is something I will regret for the rest of my life and I hope this is a catalyst for anyone else in a bad position. I am going to work hard and keep my head down and hopefully put this behind me and come back bigger and stronger,” he said.

Rising tide of match-fixing

On May 14, Wessel Nijman lost 4-0 to David Evans in the Modus Icons of Darts series. After Nijman admitted to fixing this match a month ago, the DRA banned him for five years for breaching betting and anti-corruption rules. At the time of his suspension, Nijman said he was “put under some pressure to lose a match.”

There is no suggestion that David Evans was involved in any wrongdoing.

DRA chairman Nigel Mawer said the McKinstry case “shows that any player found guilty of match fixing at any level of the sport will be caught and will face a lengthy ban.”

Mawer added that the specific penalty for withholding itemized phone billing information was “welcomed, as the requirement for co-operation from players is an important part of any DRA investigation.”

The darts match-fixing activity jives with findings from the Global Lottery Monitoring System, which reported a year-on-year rise in suspicious betting activity during the third quarter of 2020, with 452 alerts.

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