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WDF confirms PDC to prevent players from competing in both World Championships

Jamie Shaw in WDF Darts 13 Sep 2023
The Lakeside stage (Photo by Chris Sargeant/Tip Top Pics)

The PDC has ruled that any player who competes in the WDF World Championship at Lakeside will be ineligible to compete at Alexandra Palace this year.

Following consultation between the two codes, the PDC’s Board of Directors have informed the WDF that they will not allow any player that plays at Lakeside from December 2-10 to also compete in PDC World Championship later in the month.

This means that any player currently in line to qualify for both events will be forced to decide which World Championship to compete in.

As it stands, the ruling is set to impact at least four players, including reigning WDF Women’s World Champion and newly-crowned Women’s World Matchplay champion Beau Greaves.

Luke Littler, the current WDF number ten, has become the first player to confirm his decision, opting for a debut appearance at the PDC World Championship after securing his spot at Ally Pally, as well as a PDC Tour Card, via the Development Tour Order of Merit.

“I want to say a massive thank you to the WDF for the opportunities I’ve had to play around Europe and on the Lakeside stage in the 2022 World Championships,” Littler told the WDF.

“I think the experience I’ve gained through playing in and winning tournaments with literally hundreds of entries will set me up nicely for my career in darts.

“It is sad that I won’t be able to take up the challenge of playing in the WDF Lakeside World Championships, but I wish all of the players and the WDF team every success at Lakeside and in the future.”

Greaves, meanwhile, has taken time to consider her options, but has previously prioritised WDF events over the PDC Women’s Series and looks to be leaning towards a return to Lakeside to defend her title.

WDF Secretary General Nick Rolls has expressed his frustration at the ruling, commenting: “We were very disappointed to receive the PDC’s ruling.

“It has continually been the belief of the WDF that players should be eligible to play in both tournaments as they have met the qualification criteria for both tournaments. We have made this case to the PDC, particularly for the female players who we believe should have the opportunity to play in their own World Championships.

“We know that both Beau Greaves and Luke Littler have already qualified for both the WDF and PDC World Championships and we have been in communication with them both about their decisions.

“While Beau is taking some more time to consider her options, Luke has indicated to the WDF that he has chosen to play in the 2024 PDC World Championships. As he has declined his Lakeside invitation, we will follow the rules detailed on the WDF website to determine his replacement.

“These rules have been structured to ensure that the regions and countries that support the WDF system are suitably represented in our World Championships.

“When decisions are made by any other players concerned, we will share these publicly at the earliest opportunity.”

The 2022 WDF World Championship took place in April, having been postponed from January, but this year’s edition has been moved to December, finishing less than a week before the start of the PDC’s show-piece event.

The PDC had allowed seven Tour Card holders to compete in last year’s WDF World Champion under a special exemption, but have now opted not to extend the agreement.

Berry van Peer, who currently leads the PDC Challenge Tour Order of Merit and is therefore in line to qualify for Ally Pally, also looks set to be affected by the ruling, as well as New Zealand’s Haupai Puha and Ben Robb.

The WDF is set to communicate directly with all players who qualify for both tournaments in order to determine their decisions.

Should a player decline their Lakeside invitation, they will be replaced using either the regional tables or the main ranking table depending on each player’s qualification route.