Enlarge image

Darts star Michael van Gerwen at the 2023 World Championship

Photo: Zac Goodwin / dpa

The German Darts Association (DDV) will carry out alcohol tests on the players from the coming season. "The most realistic scenario at the moment is a blood alcohol limit with controls, which will be gradually lowered," the association told the "Sportschau". Although alcohol is not on the World Anti-Doping Agency's (Wada) prohibited list, the DDV sees "a certain performance-enhancing potential".

As recently as June of this year, the German player Jochen Graudenz said in an interview with »dartsnews.de that darts is »a really dirty sport«. Of the top stars, "it feels like 70 percent are alcoholics," and no one plays really well without alcohol. The biggest problem for a darts player is nervousness. "And what's the best way to solve the problem? By just getting drunk," Graudenz said.

The report of the »Sportschau« suggested that the sport of darts has an alcohol and doping problem. » In percentage terms, there seem to be more positive findings in darts than in other sports," said doping researcher Mario Thevis of the »Sportschau«. At the German Masters 2017, the two finalists, Tobias Seibert and Holger Frommann, tested positive. "That was a huge blow for me," Johann Peltzer, DDV president at the time, told SPIEGEL at the time. "That's where you lose faith in humanity."

As the »Sportschau« reported, the prohibited substances consumed by Seibert and Frommann were methylphenidate and amphetamine. Both are performance-enhancing stimulants that can be used to increase concentration.

For years, the DDV treated the topic of doping rather stepmotherly, but now Peltzer is the association's anti-doping officer. On the website of the DDV, it is stated that the association "operates the active fight against doping in accordance with its statutes in order to ensure equal opportunities and fairness in sporting competition".

According to information from the ARD doping editorial team, there was again a suspected case of doping at this year's German Championships, the National Anti-Doping Agency (Nada) confirmed this. From 2020 to 2022, there had been no Nada doping controls in darts, due to the severely restricted game operations due to the Corona pandemic, but also due to a lack of infrastructure. In the meantime, the Nada told the »Sportschau«, improvements had been made.

On December 15th, the World Darts Championship starts at London's Alexandra Palace. The organizer, the World Darts Association (PDC), adheres to the UK Anti-Doping Regulations, in which alcohol is not mentioned.