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Des Jacklin explains decision to resign as BDO Chairman

Des Jacklin resigns as BDO Chairman with immediate effect

Jamie Shaw in BDO Darts News 17 Mar 2020
Jacklin first became BDO Chairman in 2018 (credit: British Darts Organisation)

Des Jacklin has announced his resignation as British Darts Organisation Chairman and CEO with immediate effect.

Jacklin took the helm in 2018 and had overseen seismic changes to the BDO, including the decision to move the World Championship from Lakeside to Indigo at The O2 in January this year.

Jacklin was in charge during the BDO’s biggest crisis period to date which saw the organisation rack up a staggering £468,000 loss during the last financial year.

Amid the growing uncertainty surrounding the future of the BDO, Jacklin has now taken the decision to leave the role with immediate effect.

A statement from posted on the BDO website read: ‘After many months of thoughts and deliberation, I have made the decision to resign my position as BDO Director, Chairman and CEO with immediate effect.

‘I wish all success to my successor and the BDO for the future.’

Jacklin immediately implemented a number of ground-breaking rule changes in 2018, including the removal of restrictions on BDO players entering PDC Qualifying School on the back of the Lakeside World Championship.

Female players were given the green light to enter the qualifiers for the PDC World Championship, while a three-year TV deal with Eurosport was also secured for the World Trophy, World Masters and World Championship.

However, things quickly began to decline in 2019 when ticket sales slumped and the BDO’s entire team of match officials, including Master of Ceremonies Richard Ashdown, resigned.

The BDO’s decision to leave Lakeside after 33 years raised eyebrows across the darting community, eventually resulting in a prize fund slashed by almost 60 per cent due to lack of sponsorship and poor ticket sales.

Wayne Warren received just £23,000 for winning the BDO World Championship – the lowest winner’s cheque since 1989.

In addition, the World Masters descended into chaos, with re-draws at the qualifiers and a minimal crowd turnout at the Circus Tavern prompting rumours that Jacklin had vowed to walk away.

The WDF, the sport’s official governing body, also announced in December that it will no longer recognise BDO operated tournaments.

Jacklin oversaw the World Championship, which went ahead despite the unknown prize fund and a vote of no-confidence from a number of players.

Earlier this month, company accounts for the year ending May 31, 2019 revealed BDO Enterprises Limited incurred total losses of £468,452, a figure which has since grown following the three major tournaments last season.

The report of the independent auditors to the members of BDO Enterprises Limited drew attention to the significant losses which ‘cast significant doubt on the company’s ability to continue’.

The BDO board stated at the foot of the financial report that it ‘recognises the risks associated with continuing operations’ but is continuing to work at arranging sponsorship deals and TV coverage for scheduled tournaments in 2020.

The final factor in Jacklin’s decision to resign looks to be the late cancellation of the Torremolinos Festival of Darts due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

It is unclear who will take over as Chairman, though three-time World Champion Martin Adams (63) is rumoured to be in the frame.