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Bunting’s switch trims BDOs green shoots
Thursday, January 23, 2014
The announcement from the PDC today that Stephen Bunting has, somewhat belatedly, accepted a Tour Card for the next two years is a major blow to the BDO, and in particular to the new World Trophy tournament taking place in Blackpool in February.
In what was already another critical year for the BDO, this news leaves a gaping hole in their plans. Their best player, ranked number 1, reigning World Champion, and reigning World Masters champion will not be part of the new look BDO.
The Bullet’s switch was never in question – it was just a matter of timing. Having tried to circumvent the ‘switching season’ by, it is understood, withholding payment of Lakeside dues for those players offered a PDC tour card (the four semi-finalists) until the PDC Q school was complete, the BDO has now been hoisted by its’ own rather large petard.
With their new tournament (as well as the proposed Super Series) now in disarray, BDO Events will now be trying to pacify a no doubt frustrated broadcaster, reassuring headline sponsor the Daily Mirror that the tournament will be a roaring success, removing Bunting from all marketing material, and still trying to work out how to flog tickets.
An easier task has been to decide a replacement in the main draw. Notwithstanding the appeal of the returning Ted Hankey, the BDO has swiftly made the decision to award a berth to Alan ‘Chuck’ Norris, the new star at Lakeside 2014.
The organisation has survived worse setbacks than this in recent years, but few have been this badly timed, and none have come at a time when the BDO was showing green shoots of recovery as a serious professional sports’ body.
There will be some sympathy for the BDO for losing their star player at this time; but in professional sport sympathy matters little.