Professional Dart Players Association
The Professional Dart Players Association (PDPA) is an organisation for professional dart players. Its intention is to look after the interests of professional players through an annually elected Board of six current professionals.
The PDPA was initially formed in the early 1980s with the main protagonists being John Lowe, Cliff Lazarenko, Dave Whitcombe and Tony Brown. As darts was beginning to decline, players from the PDPA eventually set up the World Darts Council (which is now the Professional Darts Corporation) to run their own tournaments. The PDPA remained effectively a players union.
Since the split in darts in 1992/93, eligibility for tournaments is somewhat complicated and possibly controversial. To play in a PDC tournament, usually you must be a member of the PDPA. To play in a BDO / WDF tournament, you must agree to comply with the rules of the 1997 Tomlin Order, which effectively means not become a member of the PDPA. Players therefore usually had to choose whether to be affiliated to the PDC or the BDO and stay within the jurisdiction of that organisation.
However, there are notable exceptions. PDPA Players Championships and Open events often allow residents of the host country to participate regardless of being a PDPA member or not. This leads to anamolies such as BDO player (at the time) Michael van Gerwen winning the PDC Open Holland in 2006.
Another exception is made for major Dutch televised tournaments. They were previously staged under BDO / WDF qualification rules, but when the most famous Dutch player Raymond van Barneveld switched to the PDC, the tournament organisers insisted on inviting PDC players. An agreement was made with the BDO to allow a number of PDC wildcards for each event. Three more top Dutch players joined the PDC in January 2007 which adds more confusion to player eligibility rules for these events.
Current board and fees
Membership of the PDPA is open to all players of the appropriate standard, with an initial joining fee of £200 and a yearly membership fee of £175. There are around 300 members of the PDPA, who all have the right to qualify and play in PDC Premier televised tournaments.
The Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship, Stan James World Matchplay and Sky Bet World Grand Prix have qualifiers which are exclusive to PDPA members.
PDPA members are also able to enter the Players Championship events (formerly named PDPA Players Championships), a series of tournaments carrying £50,000 prize money which are staged throughout the year. Having begun as a series of eight tournaments in 2004-05, the number of events has risen steadily each year, 20 in 2007, 25 in 2008 and 34 in 2010.