A match at the Grand Slam of Darts has descended into something of a farce as two rival players accused each other of breaking wind to put the other off in a last-16 match in Wolverhampton, England.
- Darts players Gary Anderson and Wesley Harms both complained of a foul smell during their last-16 match at the Grand Slam of Darts tournament in Wolverhampton, although neither was willing to take responsibility
- In the Grand Slam of Darts, Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) players face competitors from the rival British Darts Organisation (BDO)
- PDC chairman Barry Hearn said the controversy was "unique"
Two-time PDC world champion Gary Anderson, 47, won the match on Friday 10-2 to progress to the quarter-finals, but his Dutch opponent Wesley Harms, 34, accused the Scotsman of leaving a "fragrant smell" on the stage during the match.
"It'll take me two nights to lose this smell from my nose," Harms said in a post-match interview with Dutch television station RTL7L.
However, world number four Anderson was adamant that he had nothing to do with the smell, first suggesting that his opponent was to blame, before later suggesting that the smell came from the crowd.
"I thought Wesley had farted on stage. Did he?" Anderson said when asked by the RTL7L reporter in his post-match interview.
When the interviewer answered in the negative, Anderson gave a quite graphic account of why he could not be the culprit. (WARNING — he uses some pretty colourful language during his denial.)
After the smell become apparent, Harms improved, leading Anderson to believe that the Dutchman was the culprit.
"It was bad. It was a stink. Then he started to play better and I thought he must have needed to get some wind out."
"Hands up, I swear on my kids life, to help me God, nothing crossed, [it wasn't me].
"Normally if I fart on stage I s*** myself, and you know that because I told you in a documentary," Anderson added.
"If I'd farted and it smelled like that, I'd put my hands up and go 'sorry, I need to go off.'"
After vehemently denying any involvement in producing the smell, Anderson began to cast aspersions on to the other people on the stage, including experienced caller Russ Bray, although he categorically denied being involved when questioned by the BBC.
"You've got another three boys up there," Anderson said, referring to his opponent, the scorer and the match referee, who all share the stage during matches.
"Every time I walked past [the table there] was a waft of rotten eggs, so that's why I was thinking it was him [Harms]."
A 'unique' incident
PDC chairman Barry Hearn told the BBC the controversy was "unique" in his experience of professional darts.
"It's the first time I've ever heard of such a contentious — almost contagious — incident," he said.
"Something doesn't smell right. There is nothing worse than a silent fart. This could run and run."
"I guess people wonder if blowing off might constitute advanced gamesmanship," Hearn said before adding that the Darts Regulation Authority had the power to fine or suspend players guilty of gamesmanship or a lack of professionalism.
Hearn has helped transform the sport since taking over the competition PDC, which was formed in 1992 by a group of leading players who split from the BD.
That move created something of a sporting behemoth, attracting sell-out crowds at arenas around the world and has become the second most watched sport on British pay-tv network, Sky Sports, behind football.
The PDC boss reminded fans that despite the jocular nature of the incident, darts is a serious business.
"On a slightly more serious note, this is a top-level competition involving highly skilled sportsmen — so we have no intention of renaming the event the 'Grand Slam of Farts' as some have suggested," added Hearn.
"These are elite players and we feel that would be inappropriate."