Wednesday 22 August 2018

Well, that's an interesting move by the BDO

Well that is interesting. It's really quite interesting. I think it's primarily been made to alleviate any issues the ladies might have had with respect to entering the qualifiers, which is a hugely welcome stance to take, but I think it's actually quite a well thought out decision that'll benefit both sides.

The top PDC players are not going to play BDO events. It's that simple - the PDC has such a crowded calendar that there is enough for around the top 32, maybe further, to be playing in a PDC event most weekends, so nothing's changed there. Where it is useful is for those players that are lower down in the PDC rankings - say someone's not qualified for a European Tour event, they can now theoretically enter a BDO event on that weekend. There's quite a lot of players, at least in the UK, that will now be able to do this, and I think it can only help both the players and the BDO - the players get competitive darts, and the BDO events get more players and a stronger playing field. I think it'll especially help the growth of the game in Europe, if players know that they won't be frozen out of events then I think it'll cause a lot more players to take a shot at Q-School and European Tour qualifiers knowing that they can still play the series of events they were going to do originally.

I'm really not sure what this means for Lakeside. In theory, Michael van Gerwen could roll up to the BDO qualifier, win it, and hold both world titles at the same time. With the way the BDO rankings work, you could quite, quite easily drop a couple of Pro Tour weekends where there's a BDO event with decent ranking points available and also attack the system when there's no PDC events or where you've not qualified for a PDC event that weekend. Or just play through the summer - there's been no ranking events outside of the Matchplay since June, and most of the PDC that would be interested in BDO events isn't going to be in the Matchplay.

One thing's for certain, 2019 Q-School is going to be hectic. I see no reason why Durrant wouldn't now go for it - he can still maintain Lakeside eligibility, pick and choose PDC events where his BDO schedule allows him to, keep his job (I think the last interview I heard he was still working, if that's now not the case my apologies) and get the best of both worlds. There's no reason for any BDO player not to take the shot at it.

One last thing - what does this mean for Ratajski? Surely in this brave new world of, if not co-operation, at least less hostility, he should be allowed to take the Grand Slam spot his World Master title would otherwise have allowed him to have?

23/8 addendum - on Twitter, there's a bunch of people mentioning that there is a PDC/PDPA rule (somewhere, I can't for the life of me find it) that states members cannot play in non-PDC sanctioned events on television. This needs the PDC/PDPA to clarify things.

First, what does this supposed rule that I cannot find actually state (if it's hidden somewhere in opaque not for public consumption contracts between players and the PDPA then fair enough)?

Second, what constitutes television? The whole idea of a televised event is meaningless in 2018. This isn't the WDC era where you had four channels and, if you're lucky, a handful of crap on Sky/cable. An ever increasing percentage of the population do not view television in a traditional manner at all. If Channel 4 picked it up, then that's fine. Eurosport, probably. BBC red button? Freesports? Dave? Amazon Prime? Winmau streaming through Facebook? Bet 365? Where do you draw the line?

It'd be extremely sensible for the PDC/PDPA to just waive/remove this rule for reasons stated above. The top players are not suddenly going to start showing up in BDO events. The lower ranked players might, but is it really a big commercial loss to the PDC if, say, Wayne Jones showed up in the World Masters brought to you by Netflix? If anything, it brings up what is surely a murky legal grey area - players will almost certainly be independent contractors, now that there isn't quite as huge a demarcation between codes it is surely got to be potential restraint of trade and/or the PDC's rules (if they even exist) qualify as unfair contract terms. Interesting times regardless.

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