British Darts Organisation

British Darts Organisation

The British Darts Organisation, or the BDO for short, is a darts organisation founded on 7 January 1973 by Olly Croft, OBE. The BDO is a founder member of the World Darts Federation which was formed in 1976.

The BDO comprises 66 member counties in Britain and organises tournaments for amateurs and professionals.

The BDO set the rules which govern the game of darts, including the size 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 is now known as the Lakeside World Professional Darts Championship - or Lakeside for short.


Split in Darts

After the World Championship began, televised darts became more prevalent with many major tournaments appearing on ITV and BBC. But by 1988, 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 16 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 1992.

They wanted to appoint a PR consultant to improve the image of the game. The 1993 Embassy World Championship was the last time all the players played in one unified competition as a battle between the players and the BDO would lead to a controversial split in the game

Since the Split

The existence of two World Championships since 1994 still leads to debate amongst darts followers as to which tournament is the most prestigious. 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 not 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 suffered a blow when the UK government banned tobacco companies from sponsoring sports events in 2003 meaning they lost the financial backing of Embassy, who had supported the World Championships since its inception. The owners of the tournament venue, Lakeside have stepped in to sponsor the event since 2004.

The BDO have continued to support players from the grass roots of the game since the "split", although there have been several high profile players who have made a name with the organisation only to later join the PDC. These have included former BDO World Champions, John Part, Richie Burnett, Steve Beaton, Raymond van Barneveld and Jelle Klaasen.

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 now shows two major BDO tournaments, the International Darts League and World Darts Trophy. Subsequently, the popularity of the sport has possibly contributed to the Dutch producing more star players including the 2006 BDO World Champion, Jelle Klaasen and the 2006 World Masters Champion, Michael van Gerwen who both subsequently joined the PDC after the 2007 World Championships. A month later, long time BDO player Mervyn King (who once claimed he would never play for the PDC) also followed, showing the continuing struggle for dominance between the bodies.

Exodus of Players

In recent years, more and more players have switched from the BDO to the PDC. Four-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld was the highest profile switch and the 2006 and 2007 Winmau World Masters winners Michael van Gerwen and Robert Thornton switched without defending their titles. Very few players have moved the other way.

When the PDC was first formed in 1992, it had 16 players. This has now grown to over 400, with numerous big-name BDO players making the switch. John Part, Steve Beaton, Raymond van Barneveld, Vincent van der Voort, Jelle Klaasen, Michael van Gerwen, Peter Manley and Mervyn King are only a few of the big name players that have made the switch.

BDO number 1 Robert Thornton decided to move to the PDC in May 2007. Thornton's first televised tournament was the 2008 UK Open, held at the Reebok Stadium, Bolton. In January 2009 the defection of players continued as the top two ranked players in the BDO, Gary Anderson and Mark Webster, both signed with the PDC. 2008 Lakeside Runner-Up Australian Simon Whitlock also signed with the PDC in 2009.

2011 Annual General Meeting

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,[1] although the said letter was vague as to actual suggestions for improvement.

Matters culminated at the subsequent AGM, where all bar 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. Consequently, the Board is now made up of Barry Gilbey (chairman), Martin Adams, Derek Weston, Wayne Williams, Sue Getty and Vic Sexton.

BDO Major Events

The annual BDO Major events comprises the following British televised events:

Lakeside World Professional Championship

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 20 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 13 times to bring his tally to 15 world titles.

Previous winners (1978–present)

  • 5 Eric Bristow (1980, 1981, 1984, 1985, 1986)
  • 4 Raymond van Barneveld (1998, 1999, 2003, 2005)
  • 3 John Lowe (1979, 1987, 1993)
  • 3 Martin Adams (2007, 2010, 2011)
  • 2 Jocky Wilson (1982, 1989)
  • 2 Phil Taylor (1990, 1992)
  • 2 Ted Hankey (2000, 2009)
  • 1 Leighton Rees (1978)
  • 1 Keith Deller (1983)
  • 1 Bob Anderson (1988)
  • 1 Dennis Priestley (1991)
  • 1 John Part (1994)
  • 1 Ritchie Burnett (1995)
  • 1 Steve Beaton (1996)
  • 1 Les Wallace (1997)
  • 1 John Walton (2001)
  • 1 Tony David (2002)
  • 1 Andy Fordham (2004)
  • 1 Jelle Klaasen (2006)
  • 1 Mark Webster (2008)

(Raymond van Barneveld, Phil Taylor, John Part and Dennis Priestley have subsequently won further world titles with the PDC)

Winmau World Masters

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 but has settled in Bridlington since 2002.

The tournament features shorter sets than the World Championship - each set is the best of three legs instead of five at Lakeside. In the 33 year history of the event, only five 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 unique record of winning the title three years running 86,87,88 for Anderson and 08,09,10 for Adams. Only 12 players have won both the Masters and World titles in their career.

Previous winners (1974–present)

  • 5 Eric Bristow (1977, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1984)
  • 3 Bob Anderson (1986, 1987, 1988)
  • 3 Martin Adams (2008, 2009, 2010)
  • 2 John Lowe (1976, 1980)
  • 2 Dave Whitcombe (1982, 1985)
  • 2 Raymond van Barneveld (2001, 2005)
  • 1 21 players have won the title once

Former Televised Events

Topic International Darts League

The Topic International Darts League was a tournament staged in the Netherlands and forms 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.

Previous winners (2003–2007)

  • 3 Raymond van Barneveld (2003, 2004, 2006)
  • 1 Mervyn King (2005)
  • 1 Gary Anderson (2007)

Bullit World Darts Trophy

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.

Previous winners (2002–2007)

  • 2 Raymond van Barneveld (2003, 2004)
  • 1 Tony David (2002)
  • 1 Gary Robson (2005)
  • 1 Phil Taylor (2006)
  • 1 Gary Anderson (2007)

Other Major BDO Tournaments

Discontinued BDO events

British Professional Championship

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.

Final Results [2]

1981 Jocky Wilson 6-5 John Lowe
1982 Eric Bristow 7-3 John Lowe
1983 Jocky Wilson 7-2 Dave Whitcombe
1984 Mike Gregory 7-4 John Lowe
1985 Eric Bristow 7-4 John Lowe
1986 Jocky Wilson 7-2 Dave Whitcombe
1987 Keith Deller 7-5 Leighton Rees
1988 Jocky Wilson 7-2 Ray Battye (Prize fund £39,700 Winner £11,000 runner-up £5,500)

British Gold Cup

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.

1978 John Lowe beat Colin Baker
1979 John Lowe beat Tony Ridler
1980 Eric Bristow beat John Lowe
1981 Tony Skuse
1982 John Lowe
1983 Bob Anderson beat Paul Reynolds

British Matchplay

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

1976 Eric Bristow
1977 Jim Beardmore
1978 Keith White
1979 Tony Bowers
1980 Tony Robinson
1981 Rab Scott
1982 Dave Lee
1983 Eric Bristow beat Keith Deller
1986 Terry O'Dea beat Lionel Sams

Bullseye Darts Championship

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.

1979 Tony Sontag beat Tim Stedman 6-1
1980 Jocky Wilson beat Eric Bristow 6-5
1981 Jocky Wilson beat John Lowe 6-5

Butlins Grand Masters

ATV broadcast the Butlins Grand Masters between 1977 and 1983. 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.[3][4]

1977 John Lowe (bt Eric Bristow)
1978 Leighton Rees (bt John Lowe)
1979 Bobby George (bt Bill Lennard)
1980 Bobby George (bt Leighton Rees)
1981 Eric Bristow (bt John Lowe)
1982 Eric Bristow (bt Cliff Lazarenko)
1983 Eric Bristow (bt Jocky Wilson)

World Matchplay

The MFI World Matchplay championship was short-lived but historic in darts as it featured the first ever televised nine dart finish on October 13, 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 came from The Fulcrum Centre, Slough. ITV ceased coverage after the 1987 championships, and also pulled coverage of the World Masters in 1988 leaving the BBC as the only broadcaster of darts.

The PDC introduced a new version of the World Matchplay in 1994 (see main article Stan James World Matchplay)

The complete list of final results:[dubious ][5]

1984 John Lowe beat Cliff Lazarenko 5-3 (sets)
1985 Eric Bristow beat Bob Anderson 5-4
1986 Mike Gregory beat Jocky Wilson 5-1
1987 Bob Anderson beat John Lowe 5-1
1988 Eric Bristow beat Bob Sinnaeve 5-1

See also


External links

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