Richie Burnett, the former BDO World Champion (1995), has been handed an 18 month ban for cocaine abuse.
Richie has this afternoon (21 October 2015) released the following statement…
“I’d like to apologise to fans for my actions last year which have resulted in this ban. Those close to me will know the personal challenges I have faced over recent years.
“Depression is an illness which affects people in different ways and impairs their decision-making, so I have been using this time to seek professional help and will continue to do so.
“I’d like to place on record my thanks to my sponsors for sticking by me during these very difficult times.
“I am determined to return to the game next May and to be competitive at the highest level. By committing to improving my mental health and well-being as well as my physical health, I am sure I can compete again.”
The 48 year old Welshman, now a PDC Tour player, tested positive for cocaine at the Grand Slam qualifier in Wigan last November. Initially it was reported he was withdrawing from the 2014 PDC World Championships for personal reasons, but it has now been revealed he had actually been handed an 18 month ban (from all sports!) that started on 3rd November 2014.
Burnett appealed the sentence, but this was rejected – he will complete his ban on 2nd May 2016.
It would be easy to pass judgement on Richie, but until he reveals his side of the story, darts fans will be deciding whether to sympathise or condemn the former World Masters winner.
It has been proven, as in the case of Andy Fordham, that the darts community can be a very supportive and understanding group, and I’m sure that many of you will join me in sending Richie best regards in what most be an desperately difficult time.
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