Darts: Bitterness at the oche: Breakaway players issue writ against BDO

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

THE WAR between some of the world's best players and the British Darts Organisation, the country's ruling body, is getting more bitter than ever.

Last January, 16 of the game's top players, including seven former world champions, broke away from the BDO and set up the World Darts Council hoping to increase television coverage. In reply the BDO banned them from all their events, including the World Championship starting on January 1.

Now 15 of the breakaway rebels, who include the reigning world champion, John Lowe, and the former champions Eric Bristow, Phil Taylor, Jocky Wilson, Dennis Priestley, Bob Anderson and Keith Deller, have issued a writ against the BDO, demanding the lifting of the ban and claiming damages for breach of contract.

They have also set up a rival world championship, to be televised by Sky TV and staged in Purfleet from 28 December to 2 January.

On paper, the WDC rebels seem to have a good case, and players like Taylor, Lowe, Alan Warriner, Mike Gregory, Rod Harrington and Anderson are as good as anyone in the world.

But people like Bristow and Wilson are past their best and only competed in the World Champonship last January by being given wild cards after failing to qualify.

Several other WDC members also failed to qualify for the Embassy and Bobby George, who refused to break away from the BDO, believes that many of them would not have qualified this year even if they had been eligible to play.

The BDO say they represent at least 25,000 players in this country and are the official governing body. They are affiliated to the World Darts Federation which represents at least 500,000 players worldwide.

Now it all depends on the writ. If the WDC fail to win the case the breakaway players may have to eat humble pie and the BDO will be in a stronger position than ever.

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