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.