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Last Updated: Friday, 12 January 2007, 12:58 GMT
Van Gerwen 'should stay with BDO'
Michael van Gerwen
Losing Van Gerwen would be a major blow for the BDO
Rising Dutch star Michael van Gerwen has been urged not to defect from the Lakeside World Darts Championships.

Reports have claimed the 17-year-old is ready to switch to the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) circuit.

But the British Darts Organisation (BDO) want him to develop his fledgling career under its umbrella.

Spokesman Robert Holmes said: "Michael is young, he needs to learn his trade, and the best way to do that is in the world system which we are part of."

Van Gerwen gatecrashed the BDO elite in October when he became the youngest-ever winner of the Winmau World Masters.

His success earned him third-seed status at this year's Lakeside event, but 'Mighty Mike' was beaten in the first round by Gary Robson.

When Michael and Jelle tell us they know nothing about (any move) we have to believe them

BDO spokesman Robert Holmes

Van Gerwen, Jelle Klaasen and England's Mervyn King have all been tipped to follow four-time Lakeside winner Raymond van Barneveld to the PDC.

King admitted the PDC had made him an offer, but said he had not accepted it.

He is also now under contract to play at the Lakeside in 2008 after reaching this year's semi-finals.

Holmes revealed that Klaasen - the Lakeside's youngest winner at 21 when he beat fellow Dutchman Van Barneveld in the 2006 final - is also under contract.

"Jelle is in the first-year of a two-year deal with us, and he has denied these stories about him joining the PDC.

"It's an unfortunate situation, and I felt for Mervyn on Thursday when he had to play a quarter-final amid all that rumour and speculation.

"But that's all it is - rumour and speculation - and when Michael and Jelle tell us they know nothing about it, we have to believe them."

The PDC staged its own world championship over Christmas and New Year, when Van Barneveld beat Phil Taylor in a thrilling final.

Its next event is the Stan James Players' Championship later this month, but a spokesman refused to discuss any potential new recruits.

"We will not be making any comment on rumours regarding the circumstances of individual players," he said.

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