Tony O’Shea has branded the BDO’s eligibility rules as “stupid” and “ridiculous” as a result of the restrictions placed on a clutch of players who entered the recent PDC Qualifying School.
O’Shea, who has competed on the BDO circuit since 1995, was a surprise entrant to this year’s UK Qualifying School in Wigan – where he obtained just two points from the four days of competition.
The three-time Lakeside finalist was one of a number of longstanding BDO players to try their hand at Q School in an attempt to earn a coveted two-year Tour Card to compete on the lucrative PDC circuit.
O’Shea missed out on the Lakeside Championship this year for the first time since 2001, and after failing to earn a Tour Card, is therefore eligible to compete on both the PDC Challenge Tour and BDO circuit in 2018.
However, a number of this year’s Lakeside participants who came up short at Q School, including Darryl Fitton, Cameron Menzies and Jamie Hughes, are now seemingly ineligble to qualify for next year’s BDO World Championship.
Speaking in a Facebook Live interview with David Fatum, O’Shea commented: “I played well but it wasn’t enough and that just shows how tough it is.
“For me personally, it’s a perfect storm because I can just drop back in [to the BDO].
“Our seasons overlap, the BDO season starts in October. I won the Turkish Open and played really good at the World Masters and Jersey so I’m actually really high up in the rankings.
“Unfortunately, Darryl Fitton, Jamie Hughes and one or two others, they’re going to get a ban.
“Those rules are stupid – those guys cannot now play on the tour for Lakeside 2019, which needs looking at.”
O’Shea intends to compete on the PDC Challenge Tour this year in addition to selected BDO ranking events, but says he has sympathy for his colleagues who do not have the same freedom.
He added: “For me personally, this was a no-brainer, I came here and enjoyed myself, I’ve actually played really well.
“Luckily, I wasn’t in the Lakeside this year, I had a big operation on my knee and I had four months out.
“But that means this year I can come over with no penalties, I can drop back in because I had a good start, but I can also play Challenge Tour.
“Obviously for Darryl [Fitton] and a few of the other boys, it’s frustrating that they’re great dart players and they could be penalised with stupid rules within the BDO that they’ve come to Q School and aren’t allowed to drop back into the BDO – it’s crazy.
“Maybe Darryl has the option for a bit of soft-tip, which would be nice, but that might be his only option and that’s ridiculous.
“Maybe I’m coming to the end of my career, I don’t know, but what am I going to do at my age apart from play darts?
“I’m just happy to still be there and be competitive.”
Pre-tournament contractual obligations prevented reigning Lakeside Champion Glen Durrant from entering this year’s Qualifying School as he went beyond the Quarter-Finals at Frimley Green.
Should Durrant have gone ahead with his plan to switch codes, he would have been forced to forfeit the £100,000 prize money he earned from retaining the Lakeside title.