- Luke Littler fell to defeat in the final after a nail-biting final leg decider in Berlin
- The teenage sensation has continued his rapid rise through the ranks in darts
- READ: Littler beaten by Michael van Gerwen in his maiden Premier League final
Eagle-eyed darts fans have spotted a potential infraction from Michael van Gerwen in Thursday night’s Premier League Darts final victory over Luke Littler in Berlin.
Littler’s rise through the ranks of the sport has been extraordinary, with the teenager winning over fans and non-followers of darts alike with his incredible underdog story.
The 17-year-old came within touching distance of the PDC World Darts Championship in January before losing out to Luke Humphries in the Alexandra Palace final.
But the Warrington-based sensation has proven himself to be far from a one-hit wonder, excelling in the Premier League and reaching the final of last night’s second event in Germany.
On Thursday he came close again, only to miss out in a final leg decider in night two of the competition against record-winner Van Gerwen.
Luke Littler once again came close to victory but fell in a final leg decider at Berlin’s Premier League Darts event
Van Gerwen beat Littler 6-5 but fans spotted a potential infringement from the Dutch star
Littler missed two attempts at double 10 to checkout on 80 and secure the win, but viewers have spotted Van Gerwen infringing on a little-known rule concerning the ‘exclusion zone’.
As Littler missed his two match darts, Van Gerwen’s feet could be seen over the edge of the ‘exclusion zone’ where only the thrower is allowed to set foot until the end of their turn.
It is described by the Darts Regulation Authority as a ‘clearly marked area’ surrounding the oche to give the thrower ‘an amount of separation’ from their opponent until the end of their throw.
Rules dictate that the zone must be respected, and any infraction is the responsibility of the second referee to spot.
‘The non-throwing player must stand whilst waiting for their throw,’ read the rules concerning the exclusion zone.
‘This position will be behind the throwing player and outside the exclusion zone in a position that does not obstruct officials or broadcast facilities.
‘The non-throwing player must not enter the exclusion zone behind or at the side of the oche until the throwing player has released the final dart of their throw.’
Van Gerwen’s feet could be seen clearly over the line of the ‘exclusion zone’ on Thursday night
Van Gerwen would secure first place in Berlin despite viewers spotting his encroachment
Littler missed two match darts in the final to just miss out on a maiden victory in the Premier League
However footage shows that Van Gerwen was very clearly over-stepping the boundary and should have been called out by the referee.
It is not the first time that Van Gerwen has been spotted encroaching, having clashed with Dimitri Van den Bergh last year over a similar issue.
Van Gerwen was seen close to the back of Van den Bergh at the 2023 World Championships with the Belgian visibly annoyed at his opponent as he attempted to regain focus, before ultimately losing 6-0 to the Dutchman.
‘I don’t really know what his problem was but you have to concentrate yourself and watch your own game,’ Van Gerwen said after securing the landslide victory.
‘That is exactly what I did. Games can get tense and you need to focus yourself, and that is exactly what I did, he was losing the game so he had to say something.’