Barry Hearn hails “common sense decision” from the BDO

Hearn says he would be prepared to work alongside the BDO (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

PDC Chairman Barry Hearn has lauded the BDO’s “brave” decision to throw open its doors to PDC players but insists the PDC are not prepared to change their stance on non-sanctioned events.  

The BDO announced last week that the board, led by newly-elected Chairman Derek Jacklin, had passed a resolution to remove historic restrictions placed on PDC players.

From October 1, current PDC Tour Card holders are permitted to enter BDO qualifying events providing they are not serving a period of ineligibility.

However, current PDPA rules state that PDC Tour Card holders are not permitted to partake in any non-sanctioned streamed or televised events outside of the PDC system.

And Hearn says he will not allow the goal posts to be moved in order for PDC players to appear in the BDO's flagship tournaments.

"The signs are much more positive than they've been before in as far as what a common sense decision by the BDO," Hearn told Live Darts.

"It's the best common sense decision I can remember for some time.

"I take my hat off to them, I think it was a brave decision to say PDC players can play wherever they want.

"They must know, and we've made it clear, that our players are under contract and they can't play on anything that's not sanctioned by the PDC because that gives us the exclusivity in terms of our events and television contracts where we can command very significant broadcast fees because of the exclusivity from which the players benefit.

"I think the next stage now is that realisation that the game's moved on but we've both got a role to play."

Hearn lodged a buyout offer of £1 million plus a further £1 million to be invested into grass roots darts in 2009, but the BDO rejected the bid.

In June, Hearn revealed that investment "would have been a terrible waste of money" but now admits he would be willing to offer the rival organisation a much-needed financial lifeline if they can provide a clear outline of their future plans.

He added: "I'm not being detrimental to them when I say I think they are the most important thing in amateur darts but they've got to accept that there is a difference between amateur and professional darts.

"If they do, we [the PDC] like the Premier League football help out the Football League, we're in a position to do that as well.

"Once we've got a clear mandate of what we're both trying to achieve - and it's got to be for the good of the sport.

"We don't have time to organise or be involved in the entire landscape of amateur darts but they have got passion for that and I welcome that.

"I think we can help them financially, morally, motivationally or whatever, but we need to have a clear platform so that everyone's aware that there's a certain freedom from their players to play and find out if they're any good.

"We are elite and that's how we maximise our money but we sell dreams and we change people's lives and that's what sport is all about."

This year's PDC World Championship field is to be expanded from 72 to 96 players, including two guaranteed Ladies qualifiers, and will feature a record prize fund of £2.5 million.

The 2019 BDO World Championship, meanwhile, remains in major doubt due to a lack of broadcast partner and sponsorship.

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Barry Hearn hails “common sense decision” from the BDO

PDC Chairman Barry Hearn has lauded the BDO’s “brave” decision to throw open its doors to PDC players but insists the PDC are not prepared to change their stance on non-sanctioned events.

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