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Wayne Mardle on BDO crisis: “I’m not sure Des Jacklin is the man for the job”

Jamie Shaw in Darts Interviews 30 Jul 2019
Mardle pictured during his work as a pundit for Sky Sports (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
Wayne Mardle admits he has doubts over whether Des Jacklin is the right man to lead the BDO forward, and says the organisation “needs help.”
Jacklin was appointed Chairman of the BDO last summer, immediately laying down his ambitious plans to transform the organisation following a long period of uncertainty.
He quickly implemented the removal of restrictions on BDO players entering PDC Qualifying School, as well as permitting BDO players to enter the women’s qualifier for the PDC World Championship.
A three-year broadcast deal with Eurosport and Quest covering the World Darts Trophy, World Masters and Lakeside World Championship was also secured, but an exodus of leading players to the PDC as well as logistical problems have since halted Jacklin’s progress.
The most turbulent week of Jacklin’s tenure saw all five senior officials announce their resignations last week, leaving the BDO without any senior match referees or a Master of Ceremonies just weeks before the start of the World Darts Trophy in Blackburn.
The BDO released a statement on Friday stating that a new-look refereeing team is being assembled after being ‘overwhelmed with applications’, but the statement left many players, officials and fans with more questions than answers.
Mardle, who competed on the BDO circuit from 1993-2002, insists the BDO remains vital to the sport but says he fears for the organisation’s future.
“I don’t know Des Jacklin, I’ve met him a couple of times,” Mardle told Live Darts.  “I’ve spoken to him, but not in depth about the BDO, the PDC or darts in general to be fair.
“What’s happened with the refs walking away and the MC is a sad state of affairs.
“I would hate the BDO to fold, I think the PDC and the darts world needs the BDO.
“They are a feeder and they are fantastic for amateur dart players.
“They give them a platform to pay £15 or £20 to go in any event they like and try to nick two, three or four grand, whatever it may be.
“If that system fails and folds, then I fear for darts in general.”
In a recent interview, Jacklin admitted the rebuilding task was “far more difficult” than he first anticipated but did not regret taking on the role of Chairman.
A number of the BDO’s flagship events are currently without a title sponsor or a venue and ticket sales have suffered as a result of late announcements.
Mardle, a Lakeside semi-finalist in 2001, believes Jacklin may have his work cut out to save the BDO from oblivion, adding: “I’m not sure Des Jacklin is the man for the job. 
“When he got appointed and opened up the game, I thought ‘well done’ and congrats to you for realising that saying to players ‘you can’t do this, you can’t do that’ and basically blackmailing them into signing contracts – he realised that wasn’t the way forward.
“I thought this may work, but it’s not working. I don’t know what’s going on on the inside and I’m not going to pretend to know or guess.
“What’s happening right now is that the BDO is not looking in a good state of affairs at all.
“I’ve feared that they’re on the decline but I’ve also thought there’s enough players and enough people who care.
“No one’s paid, that’s the problem. They’re an amateur body but they’re trying to live in a professional world right now and they’re not doing a very good job.
“How they turn it round? I don’t know. I’m not business savvy enough, I know how to run Wayne Mardle ltd – that’s about it!
“I just hope someone helps Des Jacklin and the BDO because they need help.”