2021 gets off to a slow start, with sport still feeling the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic events such as the Australian Open have been pushed back and attendance at most events are either limited or banned.
Highlights of the month include the conclusion of the PDC World Darts Championship, the semi-finals of the EFL Cup, some David vs Goliath clashes in the FA Cup, Snooker’s Masters tournament, England cricket’s tour of Sri Lanka and two high profile golf events in the UAE.
Further details on each of the highlighted events, such as travel and ticket information is available by clicking below.
The PDC World Darts Championship reaches its climax in early January, with the quarter-finals on New Years Day, semi-finals on the 2nd January and the Final on the 3rd. Defending champion Gerwyn Price was knocked out in the third round, leaving three-time champion Michael van Gerwen and two-time winner Gary Anderson among the last 8.
2020/2021 EFL Cup Semi-final (Football)
Unlike previous years, the EFL Cup Semi-finals will be single-leg matches – featuring EFL Championship side Brentford travelling across London to face Tottenham Hotspur. The other semi-final will see a Manchester derby as defending champions Manchester City travel to Old Trafford to play rivals Manchester United.
2020/2021 FA Cup Third round & Fourth round (Football)
8th-11th January 2021 & 22nd-25th January 2021 – England
The magic of the FA Cup is in full flow with Marine of the Northern Premier League (eighth-tier of English football) hosting Tottenham Hotspur of the Premier League (Sunday 10th at 5pm). Other notable ties include National League North side Chorley at home to Derby County of the EFL Championship (Saturday 9th at 12:15pm) and Stockport County of the National League at home to West Ham (Monday 11th at 8pm).
There will be no replays this year, so matches will be decided on the day going to extra time if level after 90 minutes before proceeding to penalties. Winners will move on to the fourth round to be played between the 22nd and 25th January.
The Masters is one of the most prestigious tournaments on the Snooker calendar, being one of the three Triple Crown events and featuring the world’s top 16 players. Stuart Bingham will be the defending champion at the Marhsall Arena, whilst seven time winner Ronnie O’Sullivan will also be looking to add to his collection.
After halting their 2020 tour of Sri Lanka mid-way through a warm-up match due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, England return to the country just under a year later to complete the two match test series at the picturesque Galle International Stadium in Galle.
The first event of the 2021 Race to Dubai is the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club with a world-class field including defending champion Lee Westwood, along with Major Champions Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas. They will be joined by former winners Tommy Fleetwood, Martin Kaymer and Shane Lowry.
Some of the world’s biggest golf stars head to the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai, including young star Collin Morikawa, 2017 champion Sergio Garcia and Ryder Cup stars Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton. Defending champion Lucas Herbert will also return to the scene of his first win on the European Tour.