British Darts Organisation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Logo of the British Darts Organisation

The British Darts Organisation (BDO) is a darts organisation founded on 7 January 1973 by Olly Croft. The BDO was a founder member of the World Darts Federation which was formed in 1976 but due to a recent WDF ruling they are now considered an associate member.[1] The BDO is made up of 66 member counties in Britain and organises tournaments for semi-professionals (all current players have a day job) and amateurs.


The BDO set the rules which govern the game of darts, including the distance of the throwing oche (2.37m / 7 ft 9 ¼ inches) and the height and dimensions of the board. The BDO organised the first World Professional Darts Championship in 1978, known for many years as The Embassy – due to its sponsorship by Imperial Tobacco. It was then known as the Lakeside World Professional Darts Championship – or Lakeside for short, and is now being played at a new venue, and is no longer recognised by the World Darts Federation.

Split in darts[edit]

After the World Championship began, televised darts became more prevalent with many major tournaments appearing on ITV and BBC. But by 1984, darts had lost many of its sponsors and only the World Championship remained on television. Some players became frustrated by the lack of opportunity to make a living professionally.

A group of 19 players (including all previous World Champions who were still active in the game) created the World Darts Council (WDC), later the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) towards the end of 1990. They wanted more tournaments to be staged and to appoint a PR consultant to improve the image of the game.

The 1993 Embassy World Championship was the last unified world darts championship. On 7 January 1993, the rebel players issued a joint statement affirming that they would only compete in the 1994 tournament if it was held under the auspices of the WDC. The BDO responded by banning the rebel players from all BDO tournaments. After a long legal battle, the BDO was forced to acknowledge the WDC's legitimacy and the right of players to choose which body they competed for. In return the WDC dropped its claim to being the sport's governing body and renamed itself the Professional Darts Corporation.

Since the split[edit]

Since there have been two World Championships from 1994 onwards, there have been calls for head-to-head matches between the two Winners. There have been two head-to-head matches between the reigning champions of the two organisations. The challenge matches, held in 1999 and 2004, were officially recognised as undisputed championship matches. In their respective matches, the incumbent BDO champions Raymond van Barneveld and Andy Fordham were defeated by the PDC champion Phil Taylor.

The BDO board have continued to support players from the grassroots of the game since the "split", although there have been several high-profile players who have made a name within the organisation only to later join the PDC.

Raymond van Barneveld's career in the BDO helped boost the popularity of the sport in his home country, the Netherlands. Dutch broadcaster SBS6 has broadcast the World Championship since 1998, and used to show two major BDO tournaments, the International Darts League and World Darts Trophy. Both no longer exist. However, the popularity of the sport has possibly contributed to the Netherlands making more star players, including the 2006 BDO World Champion, Jelle Klaasen, and the 2006 World Masters Champion, Michael van Gerwen.

Exodus of players[edit]

Due to the greater prize money available on the PDC tour, a growing number of BDO players have "defected" to the PDC. Four-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld was the highest profile switch, doing so in 2006. John Part (1997), Richie Burnett (2000), Steve Beaton (2001), Jelle Klaasen (2007), Mark Webster (2009), Ted Hankey (2012), Les Wallace (2013), Christian Kist (2014), Stephen Bunting (2014) and Glen Durrant (2019) are the other past BDO champions who subsequently switched to the PDC.

BDO number 1 Robert Thornton decided to move to the PDC in May 2008. 2006 Winmau World Masters winner Michael van Gerwen switched without defending his title. Long time BDO player Mervyn King (who once claimed he would never play for the PDC) followed suit a month later. Gary Anderson and Webster were the top two ranked players when they signed with the PDC in January 2009. 2008 Lakeside runner-up Simon Whitlock also signed with the PDC in 2009.

Very few players have moved the other way. 2004 Lakeside champion Andy Fordham moved to the PDC in 2009 and returned to the BDO in 2013. Three time BDO women's champion Anastasia Dobromyslova switched to the PDC in 2008, before returning in 2011. Ted Hankey, after switching to the PDC in 2012, returned to the BDO in 2014. Of recent though Andy Hamilton and Wes Newton began playing in BDO events at the start of 2018 after losing their PDC tour cards and both qualified for the 2019 BDO world championship.

2011 Annual General Meeting[edit]

Prior to the 2011 Annual General Meeting of the BDO, many players and officials within the organisation had expressed increasing degrees of dissatisfaction with the performance of the existing Board of Directors. Particular areas of concern were the BDO's apparent stagnation in terms of creating new televised events and gaining new sponsors. An open letter was circulated to the various counties within the BDO structure, setting out the perceived issues,[2] although the said letter was vague as to actual suggestions for improvement. Matters culminated at the subsequent AGM, where all but one of the incumbent Board were voted out of office (other than Dave Alderman who had already resigned), with only Vic Sexton retaining his seat.

2019 issues and WDF demotion[edit]

There were a number of problems at the 2019 World Masters. Several seeded players opted not to participate in the event in protest at a change to qualifying criteria.[3] Other players who did attend found they were unregistered, having been unaware of a new rule which required them to register in advance online. Due to the confusion, officials announced that there would be a redraw, which included fake names, apparently so they could be substituted if more real players arrived. Players were also not informed of the event's prizemoney in advance.[4]

Due to the issues at the World Masters, the World Darts Federation subsequently released a statement announcing that the BDO was to be demoted to "associate member" status and the WDF would no longer recognise BDO-organised tournaments. They cited the recent "breach of rules" and "draw changes during their competition", adding "we cannot be a part of or support such activities."[5]

On 30 December 2019, five days before the start of the 2020 BDO World Championship, BDO chairman Des Jacklin announced that prizemoney for the upcoming event would have to be "reduced somewhat", although the BDO did not confirm what the new prize fund would be. He cited the failure to secure a sponsor for the event, and the fact that only 15% of tickets had been sold.[6] The reduction in the prize fund and the failure to confirm the reduced amounts that players would receive was criticised by a number of players.[7][8] In protest at the reduced prizemoney on offer, Fallon Sherrock, runner-up in the 2015 women's event, confirmed that she would be withdrawing from the competition.[9] Ultimately, champion Wayne Warren received £23,000, a 77% reduction on the previous year's prizemoney and the lowest amount received by a winner of the tournament since 1989.[10]

Major tournaments[edit]

BDO Events Ltd is the commercial arm of the BDO (British Darts Organisation) and was set up in 2013.[11] The annual BDO Major events comprises the following British televised events:

World Professional Championship[edit]

The World Championship is the biggest of the tournaments, held at the Lakeside Country Club, Frimley Green, UK. The tournament started in 1978 and for the first 15 years it was a unified World Championship, before a separate competition (the PDC World Championship) began in 1994. There have been 24 different winners of the event and Eric Bristow is the player with the most BDO World titles including a hat-trick between 1984 and 1986. Raymond van Barneveld matched his overall haul of five world titles when he won the PDC version in 2007. Phil Taylor has also won the PDC title 14 times to bring his tally to 16 world titles.

In December 2019 the World Darts Federation announced that it would no longer recognise the BDO as the ruling body of darts in the UK, no longer recognised the BDO World Championships and thus it no longer became a recognised world championship.

World Masters[edit]

The World Masters is the longest running BDO major title, having started as far back as 1974. It is the second biggest major title on the BDO stage. Having been first staged in Fulham, the tournament has been to Wembley, Earls Court, Kensington, the Lakeside Country Club and others. It is currently held at the Circus Tavern in Purfleet.

The tournament features shorter sets than the World Championship – each set is the best of three legs instead of five at Lakeside. In the 40-year history of the event, only 7 players have managed to win the title on more than one occasion. Eric Bristow holds the record for most tournament wins with five. Bob Anderson and Martin Adams hold the record of winning the title three years running 86, 87, 88 for Anderson and 08, 09, 10 for Adams. Only 14 players have won both the Masters and World titles in their career.

The BDO World Trophy[edit]

The BDO World Trophy is the Newest "Major" Darts tournament added to the BDO's events calendar from 2014 onwards, organized by the BDO Events – the new commercial arm of the British Darts Organisation.[12]

Current ranked tournaments[edit]

Former televised tournaments[edit]

Topic International Darts League[edit]

The Topic International Darts League was a tournament staged in the Netherlands and formed the second leg of the Grand Slam having been introduced in 2003. Whilst its format has evolved in recent years, it features players competing in a round-robin tournament. The 2006 event featured 32 players in 8 groups of 4, which were then reduced to 4 further groups of 4. The top two in each group then went through to the knockout stages.

When Raymond van Barneveld switched to the PDC in 2006, the tournament organisers agreed with the BDO to invite four players from the rival organisation. Van Barneveld (PDC) went on to win the title for the third time in 2006 and Gary Anderson (BDO) won the 2007 event. This remains the only major event to date that Phil Taylor hasn't won in either the BDO or PDC.

Bullit World Darts Trophy[edit]

The World Darts Trophy (WDT) was the third BDO major of the year and the second to be held in the Netherlands. Its straight knock-out format is comparable to the two versions of the World Championship.

The WDT followed the International Darts League by inviting four PDC players to the tournament in 2006, and again a PDC player (Phil Taylor) won the title.

British Gold Cup[edit]

The British Gold Cup began in 1978 and was held in Stoke. It was broadcast on BBC until 1982, with the 1983 tournament blacked out due to a technician's strike. It was then broadcast in 2008 on Setanta Sports in the UK, After a brief stint on the short-lived channel Wire TV (94–95).

Discontinued tournaments[edit]

British Professional Championship[edit]

The Unipart British Professional Championship was a tournament televised by the BBC between 1981 and 1988. After the 1988 championships, the BBC withdrew their coverage of the event and it left UK terrestrial television with only one televised tournament – the World Championships. The game was at an all-time low and players eventually went on to set up the World Darts Council in an attempt to bring back sponsors and television.

Jocky Wilson won the title a record four times – John Lowe also reached four finals but lost them all.

British Matchplay[edit]

British Matchplay ran from 1976 to 1983 with a brief revival in 1986. The tournament was broadcast on the ITV network in 1978, but usually broadcast regionally including Anglia Television in 1977 and Central in 1986.

Bullseye Darts Championship[edit]

Not to be confused with the long-running game show Bullseye, this was a BBC2 tournament which ran for three years during the peak of darts boom period at the turn of the eighties. Jocky Wilson was twice the winner.

Butlins Grand Masters[edit]

ATV broadcast the Butlins Grand Masters between 1977 and 1988. Matches were played over the best of nine legs. The tournament was held at a pub in Birmingham. Bobby George was twice the winner and Eric Bristow won a hat-trick of titles.[13][user-generated source]

World Matchplay[edit]

The MFI World Matchplay championship was short-lived but historic in darts as it featured the first ever televised nine-dart finish on 13 October 1984 when John Lowe won £102,000 for the perfect game of darts against Keith Deller. Lowe went on to win the title that year. The tournament was broadcast on ITV and originally came from the Fulcrum Centre, Slough before switching to Festival Hall, Basildon.[14] ITV ceased coverage after the 1988 championships and the tournament ended. ITV also pulled coverage of the World Masters after the 1988 event, leaving the BBC as the only broadcaster of darts until 1992.

The PDC introduced a new version of World Matchplay in 1994.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Open Letter to BDO Counties". Archived from the original on 30 March 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  3. ^ "Multiple BDO stars opt out of the 2019 World Masters". Live Darts. 22 October 2019. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  4. ^ "Confusion reigns at World Masters as fake names, a redraw and a resignation blight BDO's oldest major". The Metro. 24 October 2019. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  5. ^ "WDF Letter" (PDF). 1 December 2019.
  6. ^ "BDO World Championship prize money 'reduced somewhat' after poor ticket sales". BBC Sport. 30 December 2019. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  7. ^ "Andy Hamilton calls on BDO chairman to resign as prize money mystery continues". The Metro. 12 January 2020. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  8. ^ "The players have been lied to, we're trying to get them a few quid: Tony Martin on BDO Women's World Championship prize money fundraiser". The Metro. 4 January 2020. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  9. ^ "Fallon Sherrock: Briton pulls out of BDO Women's Championship". BBC Sport. 1 January 2020. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  10. ^ "BDO darts: Champion Wayne Warren to receive lowest prize since 1989". BBC Sport. 15 January 2020. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 November 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-14.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 January 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link).
  13. ^ "Topica Email List Directory". 4 May 2005. Archived from the original on 15 June 2011.
  14. ^ "Darts Results – MFI World Matchplay – Darts Mad". Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 21 December 2015.

External links[edit]