Russ Bray will referee his last PDC major match in the 2023/24 World Championship final as he prepares to hang up his microphone after four decades.
Bray, one of the most iconic voices in sport, has been a leading darts referee in the PDC since 1996 and has been assigned the sport’s showpiece fixture for one last time on January 3.
The 66-year-old has called home some of darts’ most historic moments, including the 2007 World Championship final between Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld at the Circus Tavern.
He was also behind the microphone for John Part’s infamous victory over Taylor in the 2003 World final and has called in a staggering 17 televised nine-dart finishes, including Taylor’s first on live TV at the 2002 World Matchplay.
Bray, whose trademark gravelly tones have made him an iconic figure within the sport and instrumental in its worldwide growth over the years, will begin a new role as a PDC ambassador in 2024.
“I’ve had a magnificent career so far, and this game has given me so many opportunities and memories,” reflected ‘The Voice’, who will continue to officiate on the World Series circuit next year.
“When you’re part of the game, you’re going with the flow, with the rollercoaster, but when you look at the development of the sport since I joined the PDC in 1996, the difference is incredible.
“It’s a global game now. When you’re refereeing on the PDC Asian Tour in Mongolia, and on the World Series in Australia, you do have to pinch yourself sometimes.
“I’m an old age pensioner now. We have some cracking youngsters coming through, so for me personally, I think it’s the right time.
“I’ve got a lot of experience and input that I can push forward, and I’m really relishing this new role.
“There’s still an awful lot out there still to be done, and there’s still an awful lot we can still achieve.
“We’re riding the crest of a wave and we’re going at the rate of knots, and I don’t see the end of that wave splashing down at all.”
Bray’s new role as PDC ambassador will also see him help to develop the next generation of referees and continue the expansion of the PDC’s global affiliate tour in key regions such as Asia.