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Leighton Bennett dropped by management company over ‘breach of contract’

Jamie Shaw in PDC Darts News 06 Jun 2024
Bennett in action at the UK Open (Photo by PDC)

Leighton Bennett has been dropped by Mach Darts Management with immediate effect following an alleged ‘breach of contract’.

Bennett, 18, has been under contract with Mach Darts Management since October 2022.

The former BDO World Youth champion secured a PDC Tour Card for the first time at Qualifying School in January and landed a nine-darter in the opening Players Championship event of the year.

However, he has been involved in a contractual dispute with his management company – whose stable also contains Gian van Veen – resulting in the two parties cutting ties.

A statement from Mach Darts Management read: ‘Since our collaboration began in October 2022, Mach Darts has been committed to nurturing Leighton’s talent and providing him with the resources necessary to succeed in professional darts. However, regrettably, Leighton and his associates have chosen to disregard our contractual agreement and have made attempts to sever ties, disregarding our contributions and commitments.

‘In addition to breaching contractual obligations, there have been other unfortunate incidents, including damage to our reputation and attempts to undermine our brand. Despite our efforts to salvage the relationship, it has become clear that a separation is necessary for the integrity of our organization.

‘It is such a shame what should be a huge success story for us and Leighton that such deception and lack of honour has occurred. It is not a decision made lightly but we feel it is extremely important to the sport and especially with more young players coming through the game that we can support young players.

‘But without any contractual protection, as a management company we could literally be discarded if we don’t follow this up, meaning that all players under 18 with a management company could in theory walk away as soon as any success starts to arrive, we believe this is terrible for progressing the sport of darts and regulating players and advising them in a professional manner.

‘However much the betrayal hurts we still hope that Leighton himself can continue his darts career providing he is not found guilty in any other allegations relating to conduct. We remain dedicated to supporting talented players within the darts community and look forward to continuing to do so in the future.’

Bennett burst onto the scene as a 12-year-old at the 2018 Cambridgeshire Open, defeating PDC Tour Card holder Ricky Evans on his way to winning the event.

He took on Phil Taylor in a series of high-profile exhibition matches, defeating ‘The Power’ in Frankfurt in 2019 – the year he claimed the BDO World Youth Championship title at Lakeside.

Nicknamed ‘Boom Boom’, Bennett has notably reached the Last 16 of a Players Championship event this year and has enjoyed wins over the likes of Dave Chisnall and Andy Baetens.