BDO set to fold as all remaining counties join UKDA

The BDO is set to announce its intention to fold after the United Kingdom Darts Association confirmed all counties will now play under its banner.

BDO Enterprises Ltd, the commercial arm of the BDO, filed for voluntary liquidation in May, effectively bringing the curtain down on more than 40 years of darting history.

The liquidation marked the end of the road for prestigious major tournaments including the World Masters, World Trophy and World Championship, leaving only the county and youth systems.

Despite the formation of rival organisation UKDA, which had already attracted multiple counties to play under its new system, BDO Chairman Des Jacklin released a statement last Monday vowing the the BDO BICC would battle on.

In the statement, Jacklin said: ‘There has been much speculation of late regarding the future of the BDO BICC, this has only been enhanced by the promotion of a rival Organisations set up to try and take away the heritage of the BDO, we cannot allow this to continue.’

As of last Tuesday, nine counties had opted to remain in the BICC system: Yorkshire, Cornwall, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, West Midlands, Humberside, Isle of Wight, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.

However, with more counties displaying a vote of no confidence in the BDO and opting to switch allegiances, a meeting involving Jacklin and the remaining BICC counties was held on Sunday.

Jacklin then revealed that all remaining counties would be joining the UKDA “for the good of darts”, adding that “they did not want to leave the BDO but felt to stay with the BDO would not be in the best interests of darts”.

He also added: “We will see what the future has in store for the grass roots of darts, but on a personal note my life has become a whole lot easier.”

UKDA CEO Colin Savage released the following statement on Monday evening:

Live Darts understands the BDO is set to release a statement on Tuesday to confirm the end of the organisation.

The BDO was founded in January 1973 by Olly Croft and helped nurture many of the sport’s all-time greats, including Eric Bristow, Jocky Wilson, Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld.

The BDO World Championship was held in consecutive years from 1978-2020, staged at the Lakeside Country Club between 1986 and 2019 before moving to Indigo at The O2 this year.

Following a slump in ticket sales and failure to attract sponsors, the prize fund for the 2020 BDO World Championship was slashed by almost 60 per cent for the men’s tournament and ten per cent for the ladies event.

Men’s champion Wayne Warren received just £23,000, the lowest winner’s cheque in more than 30 years.

The BDO racked up a staggering £468,000 loss during the last financial year and subsequently filed for Voluntary Liquidation in May.

Jacklin oversaw the organisation’s biggest crisis period, which included a chaotic 2019 World Masters, leaving Lakeside and eventually resigning in March before being voted back onto the board a month later.

The controversial chairman became renowned for his no holds barred statements, regularly blasting social media critics, and vowing to restore the BDO to its former glories.

However, Jacklin was ultimately unable to turn the tide and has now seemingly admitted defeat as the UKDA look to take the amateur game forward.

The United Kingdom Darts Association was established in 2020 ‘to provide a solid and financially sound organisation to run grassroots darts in the UK.’

The UKDA is a not for profit company which offers all counties and the respective nations the opportunity to purchase shares and distributes the profits back into the company.

It will run alongside the new Modern Amateur Darts (MAD) organisation, fronted by PDC professional and Junior Darts Corporation Chairman Steve Brown.

BDO accounts reveal staggering losses prior to World Trophy, World Masters and World Championship

The British Darts Organisation incurred losses of more than £468,000 during the financial year ending May 2019.

Latest financial statements for the year ending May 31, 2019 reveal BDO Enterprises Limited incurred total losses of £468,452, a figure which has since grown following the three major tournaments last season.

The reserves of the company were £178,297 and company director Derek Jacklin was paid £15,000 for administrative services.

The post balance sheet states that further losses have been incurred at the World Trophy and World Masters that further depleted the company reserves.

The prize fund for the 2020 BDO World Championship was slashed by almost 60 per cent for the men’s tournament and ten per cent for the ladies event to ensure the event went ahead.

This was due to poor ticket sales after leaving Lakeside for Indigo at The O2, as well as the lack of a major sponsor.

Lakeside owner Bob Potter traditionally covered the bulk of the prize for the World Championship as part of Lakeside’s title sponsorship.

BetBroker, an online gambling company, was announced as the ‘official shirt sponsor’ for the 2020 World Championship, but was said to be unlicensed and owed money to several customers.

BetBroker has since deactivated its Twitter account and there is no trace of a website or contact details.

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

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

The BDO board has 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 board is ‘confident’ deals can be reached to ensure tournaments run at a surplus and therefore secure the future of the BDO.

BDO Board assures the tour will continue despite “several setbacks”

The BDO Board of Directors has assured its members that the circuit will continue despite “several setbacks” in recent months.

Speculation had mounted over the BDO’s short-term future after a turbulent 2019 which saw prize money and attendances plummet, officials resign and the World Masters descend into chaos.

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

The most recent BDO crisis surrounded World Championship prize money, which was slashed by almost 60 per cent for the men’s tournament and ten per cent for the ladies event.

Last month, PDC Chairman Barry Hearn called for the BDO board to “resign en bloc immediately” following its “disgraceful” treatment of players.

It is understood players are still yet to receive their World Championship prize money, leading to more uncertainty around other upcoming competitions.

However, a letter addressed to players and members on Monday attempted to clarify the situation, confirming the World Trophy, World Masters and 2021 World Championship will go ahead, as well as the International Open.

It is also suggested that meetings are due to take place next week with a new social media company, while a PR company has already been brought on board in an effort to improve the organisation’s image and marketability.

A further suggestion reveals discussions are taking place regarding televising BICC (county) matches, while a new director will be appointed onto the board to replace Martyn Moore – who recently resigned.

Chairman Des Jacklin remains confident of securing sponsorship deals with ‘several interested parties’ in a move he hopes will generate much-needed revenue.

BDO has “hit rock bottom” says Darryl Fitton

Former major winner Darryl Fitton has hit out at the current running of the BDO, admitting the organisation has “hit rock bottom”.

Fitton, the 2014 World Trophy winner and three-time Lakeside semi-finalist, believes the BDO has taken a backward step under Chairman Des Jacklin and says he fears for its future.

The BDO has been plagued by problems in recent months including re-draws at the World Masters, loss of official recognition from the WDF, ranking status removed from the Dutch Open and minimal ticket sales.

Fitton, who competed on the BDO circuit from 2002-2018, has called for a new European council to be formed in order to steer the organisation in the right direction.

“It [the BDO] has been falling on its backside for a couple of years and has hit rock bottom,” Fitton told Live Darts.

“It’s ironic how the founder of the BDO has just passed away and it looks like he’s taken his baby with him.

“You can’t blame the present chairman, but he’s not helped.

“I think they can still save it, but what the BDO needs to do is have two separate entities, the BDO enterprises needs to run the tournaments and the BDO as we know it should run the counties.

“They could maybe bring in a European council or something like that, get people in from Holland, Germany and Belgium who know what they’re doing and how to run events because the BDO is going backwards.”

The BDO announced in August it was to take the World Championship away from Lakeside for the first time in 33 years, with London’s O2 Indigo announced as the new venue.

Leaked documents have shown just over 2,000 tickets have been sold across the entire week of the tournament so far, accounting for around ten per cent of the capacity.

Fitton, admits the venue change could be a positive move for the BDO if ticket sales were to drastically rise in the weeks prior to the competition.

He added: “The Indigo O2 is a great venue and it’s a step forward in a way but I think it was all done wrong and probably done at the last minute.

“Bob Potter [Lakeside owner] was great at putting coaches on for people to get to his venue and he sold a lot of the tickets.

“My fondest memory of playing there was playing Andy Fordham the year he won the world title.

“We played in the Quarter-Finals and the atmosphere was electric, it buzzed through your whole body, I even had to step back because of the noise.

“It is a sad day for the BDO but there is still light at the end of the tunnel, it’s not dead yet.”

Scott Mitchell reveals “frustration” over BDO uncertainty

Former World Champion Scott Mitchell has revealed his “frustration” at the current uncertainty surrounding the British Darts Organisation, including alarming ticket sale figures for the 2020 World Championship.

Mitchell joined us for an exclusive interview at the recent Players Championship Finals in Minehead to give his take on a number of the key issues surrounding the BDO, as well as the move from Lakeside, Grand Slam picks and more.

Mitchell is currently ranked eleventh in the BDO system but has struggled in televised competition this year, bowing out of the World Trophy and World Masters in the early rounds and missing out on a place in November’s Grand Slam.

Dutch Open to no longer carry BDO ranking points

The Dutch Open will no longer carry BDO ranking points following a dispute between tournament organisers and the BDO over rule changes.

The Dutch Open has been an annual fixture on the darting calendar since 1973 and has grown to become the biggest open darts tournament in the world, with the 2019 event attracting 3,357 male entrants and 367 women.

Tournament organisers Nederlandse Darts Bond claim they received a letter from the BDO on November 29 with several new obligations regarding the current BDO tournament regulations.

The letter outlined the new fees that are being implemented which the NDB believe would negatively impact the 2020 Dutch Open.

A statement on the official Dutch Open website states a reply was sent to the BDO on December 2 urgently requesting the new rules to be overturned, but no correspondence was received before the set deadline.

The NDB went on to state it does not accept the new rules according to the BDO letter and is not willing to pay for BDO points.

The prize fund, which offers £5,000 to the men’s champion and £2,500 to the women’s champion, remains unchanged and players who have already registered for the 2020 event (January 31 to February 2) can receive a refund on their entry fee should they wish to opt out due to the lack of BDO points on offer.

Richard Veenstra and Mikuru Suzuki claimed the respective titles in 2019 and former men’s champions include the likes of Raymond van Barneveld, Steve Beaton, Ted Hankey, Wayne Mardle and Mervyn King.

WDF announces it has ceased to recognise BDO tournaments

The World Darts Federation has announced it will no longer recognise British Darts Organisation operated tournaments with immediate effect.

The WDF released a damning letter addressed to its members stating it “will not recognise BDO operated tournaments”, citing a breach of rules and draw changes which occurred at the recent World Masters.

As a result, now the BDO has been downgraded to Associate Member status, meaning it is no longer the governing body for darts in the country.

The letter, dated December 1, states: ‘The WDF Executive has concluded that we cannot be a part of or support such activities and does not endorse the actions of the BDO.

‘With rule changes as well as draw changes during their competition there is opportunity for alleged violations to be construed as match fixing.

‘This situation could place our member country organisations and their players in a compromising position.

‘The WDF refuses to be associated with such actions.’

The letter ends by stating the WDF is in the process of implementing a global circuit which will see WDF major events made through their own ranking systems.

This could potentially jeapoardise the future of major BDO tournaments formerly recognised by the WDF, including the World Championship and World Masters.

BDO Chairman Des Jacklin responded by hastily posting a statement on Facebook which read:

Jacklin has since written a letter to the BDO counties stating December 3 was the first contact he had with the WDF over the issue and that the WDF have ‘acted purely on information gathered from social media and hearsay.’

He then accused the WDF of being ‘unlawful’ and ‘trying to kill the company’ and revealed the matter is now in the hands of a solicitor.

The news comes as another blow to the BDO, which announced earlier this year it was to leave Lakeside after 33 years, as well as losing its entire refereeing team and long-term brand partner Winmau.

Ticket sales are said to have slumped for January’s World Championship at London’s O2 Indigo, with less than 2,000 sold across the entire tournament so far.

The World Darts Federation, formed in 1974, is the official governing body, which encourages the promotion of the sport in an effort to gain international recognition for darts.