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Phil Taylor reveals ‘sadness’ over BDO crisis

Jamie Shaw in Darts Interviews 22 Jan 2020
Taylor reveals his concern over the BDO’s future (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Phil Taylor admits he is “very sad” to witness the current plight of the BDO and says he “feels sorry” for newly-crowned champion Wayne Warren.

Taylor, 59, spent the first six years of his career competing in the BDO system before being part of the breakaway group that formed the now PDC in 1993.

A protege of the great Eric Bristow, Taylor shot to prominence by beating his mentor in the final to win the World Championship at Lakeside in 1990, receiving £24,000 for the feat.

Incredibly, Taylor’s winner’s cheque from 30 years ago eclipses that awarded to Wayne Warren in 2020 amid a financial crisis that threatens the very existence of the BDO.

Taylor has praised Warren’s hunger for success regardless of prize money but says he has sympathy for the Welshman and those currently within the BDO system.

“The BDO were the breeding ground and I’m very sad to see the BDO not in a good place at the minute,” Taylor told Live Darts.

“Wayne Warren is a worthy World Champion and what he did there [at Indigo at The O2] was brilliant.

“The Semi-Final against Scott [Mitchell] was a tough game for both of them.

“The BDO are the ones that bring the champions through and it’s a shame.

“Wayne decided to play in the World Championship, he stood by his word, there were players who pulled out but he stuck by his word and he won it.

“So whether it’s five hundred thousand or fifty quid, that fella played.

“I would say Roy Keane would have played for Manchester United for one hundred pound a week, never mind one hundred thousand a week, it’s what you are as a person, you’re a winner and determined to be a World Champion, money isn’t everything.

“I do feel for him, course I do, but he still would have played.

“I think if at the beginning of the week they’d said “we can’t pay you, we’re struggling”, Wayne Warren would have still won the World Championship.”

Warren’s £23,000 winner’s cheque signifies a 77 per cent reduction on what Glen Durrant earned for retaining the title 12 months earlier.

The men’s prize fund was down 58 per cent on 2019 with a total of £127,000, while the Ladies prize fund totalled £26,500, a reduction of almost ten per cent.

Taylor, meanwhile, had been linked with a competitive comeback by tabloid newspapers over the festive period, and while he has not ruled out a potential entry to the UK Open qualifiers, admits a full-time comeback is out of the question.

He added: “I was going to come back and play in the UK Open.

“I phoned Barry [Hearn] up and said “have you got any objections with me playing in the UK Open?” just as a one off thing, I was going to go to the Rileys qualifiers and try to sneak a win through the back door.

“It was just to have that bit of a Rocky moment, a bit of fire in the basement.

“Barry said he had no problems at all and would love me to come back and play a tournament, but as a full-time professional, I couldn’t, I’m too old.

“I’ve got to have a new hip, I couldn’t do it.

“I’m still a professional an in exhibition work and it depends what you class as a professional, for me it’s somebody who earns money doing what they love, so I am a professional.”