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Page last updated at 13:25 GMT, Wednesday, 21 October 2009 14:25 UK

BDO rejects Hearn's takeover bid

By Ben Dirs

Ted Hankey (left) and Phil Taylor
Hankey (left) and Taylor are both current world champions

The head of the British Darts Organisation (BDO) has rebuffed a takeover bid from rival body the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC).

PDC chief Barry Hearn has offered £1m for the BDO, but Olly Croft said it "is not for sale" at any price.

The acrimonious split between the BDO and PDC, which have rival world championships on the BBC and Sky respectively, stretches back to 1993.

"This nothing more than a cheap publicity stunt," said Croft.

On Tuesday, Hearn sent an open letter to the BDO board outlining his plans to bring the whole sport under his control.

"We [the PDC] know what we are doing and want to invest in the future of darts," said Hearn. "The BDO made £16,000 profit last year. The PDC made £1m profit, had a turnover of £9m and has roughly £3m in the bank.

"I would suggest that if the BDO really care about the sport of darts and the millions of players, then you should accept offers and let us inject not just finance, but professional management to run darts in a modern and effective manner."

Maybe Mr Hearn is experiencing problems? Or maybe Sky are becoming a little frustrated with what he has to offer?

BDO head Olly Croft

Hearn also offered to honour all existing contracts currently in place with sponsors, venues and the BBC, and said he would invest a further £1m into the grass-roots of the sport.

However, Croft questioned Hearn's motives and claimed the reason the BDO generated only £16,000 profit last year was because "we plough back the money... into the sport for the benefit of the sport and its players".

"This is nothing to do with unifying the sport but has everything to do with his [Hearn's] inflated ego," added Croft, who founded the BDO in 1973.

"The [BDO world championship] is seen regularly by audiences of 4m plus in the UK alone. Contrast that to an organisation that looks after a handful of players and continually produces the same predictable results time after time.

"Barry Hearn is more concerned with filling arenas with ever-rowdier crowds and turning our great sport into a 'show' on a par with wrestling.


"Maybe Mr Hearn is experiencing problems? Or maybe Sky are becoming a little frustrated with what he has to offer?

"I am not knocking the players. The BDO has produced all of them and they are good at what they do, but the same formats, the same faces and the same results are hardly a recipe for long lasting success."

Darts has been divided since a group of 16 rebel players, including 14-time world champion Phil Taylor, broke away to create their own organisation, initially called the World Darts Council (WDC).

And reigning BDO world champion Ted Hankey says darts is destined to be divided for all time.

"I can't ever see it happening, you've got two organisations and it is what it is now," Hankey told BBC Sport.

"The BDO's strong right down to the grass-roots. The BDO has produced what the PDC has got. If you were going to buy the BDO, what price would you put on it? £100m? £200m? It's where darts started and where darts will always be.

"The BDO aren't there to make money for themselves, they're there to promote the game and make sure the players are looked after, which is what they do.

"The PDC do well at what they do, but the BDO is what darts is about. The BDO is far more entertaining than the PDC, where you get Taylor dominating and ripping everybody to pieces.

"I watch the [PDC] Premier League and those crowds are ridiculous, it's just people drinking, shouting, singing football songs. But that's what Barry Hearn wants.

"Look at the characters we've got at the Lakeside [BDO world championship] - Tony O'Shea, Darryl Fitton, John Walton, Martin Adams, myself - there's nobody at the PDC who's got a gimmick, all they do there is concentrate 100% on winning as much money as they can."

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see also
New faces set for Lakeside debuts
13 Oct 09 |  Darts
Taylor completes darts grand slam
12 Oct 09 |  Darts
In-form Lewis takes Dublin title
04 Oct 09 |  Darts
O'Shea win leads way at World Cup
28 Sep 09 |  Darts
Adams pips Green in Masters final
06 Sep 09 |  Darts
Qualifiers secure Lakeside berths
04 Sep 09 |  Darts
BBC extends Lakeside darts deal
03 Sep 09 |  Darts
Taylor wins 10th Matchplay title
27 Jul 09 |  Darts
Taylor savours 14th world title
05 Jan 09 |  Darts
Hankey secures second BDO title
11 Jan 09 |  Darts
The great darts divide
21 Oct 09 |  World Darts Championship 2002

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Telegraph Hankey to play Robson at Lakeside - 19 hrs ago
RTE Online Hearn wants BDO shareholders to be consulted - 20 hrs ago
Guardian Unlimited Hearn calls for decision on BDO bid - 21 hrs ago


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