Fallon Sherrock has withdrawn from the 2020 BDO World Championship which is set to begin this Saturday at the Indigo at the O2, the new home for the event after their recent move from the Lakeside.

Sherrock was odds-on favourite after her run at the PDC World Championship and as number four seed was set to take on close friend, Corrine Hammond; who was at the Alexandra Palace for her whole run.

Despite that though ‘unexpected changes to the event’ were given as a factor; in a statement released by her management team, MODUS Darts. These changes were revealed yesterday; with the reduction of the prize fund for the event.

Des Jacklin, chairman of the BDO released the following statement yesterday; which sees him reveal that only 15 percent of tickets have been sold. As a result, they took the decision to reduce it; which has now seen Sherrock become the first player to withdraw.

Further reports emerged after the statement that this prize fund has been slashed by 50 percent; with the Ladies winner claiming just £8,000 compared to £12,000; which Mikuru Suzuki received 12 months ago despite Jacklin’s previous claims that he would increase the prize fund in 2020.

This added to the Men’s Prize Fund will mean a sharp drop to £150,000 from £329,000; the statement added that they were told by commercial advisers Sportotal that the sponsorship; which they are lacking had been ‘impossible to secure’ because the brand had been seen as ‘toxic’ on social media.

“I am writing to you on behalf of the BDO Directors in order to convey some information that is extremely difficult for me to write and that will be undoubtedly disappointing for you to read,” Jacklin said.

“It concerns the level of prize monies for this year’s World Professional Championships; which we are, with great reluctance, having to reduce somewhat whilst still retaining a very lucrative incentive.

“The reasons for taking this decision is based purely on finance and the observance of our roles; as BDO Directors to act in the best interests of the company.

“Our commercial advisors [Sportotal] have informed title or other sponsorship has been impossible to secure for the BDO World Pro; due mainly to the adverse publicity that the BDO has received on various aspects of social media and that in their opinion the BDO is currently ‘toxic’.

“Ticket sales are currently only at a total of 15% of ticket availability and therefore the income is 85% down on the budget predictions. The TV contract income has been largely decimated by TV production costs and by payment of previous debts as incurred before the current directors were elected into office.”

“Given the current financial position of he BDO we as Directors would have been failing in our fiduciary duty; had we ignored these elements and pledged as prize money the funds we do not have, nor are guaranteed to receive.”

Ladies Prize Fund increase ‘not possible’

Jacklin went on to say that he feels ‘sorry’ for the players especially in terms of this upgrade to the Women’s Prize Fund; which has now not been offered but he said it was ‘not possible’.

Despite that though, he has pleaded players to play in the World Championship; but with Sherrock being the first; it remains to be seen how many will be at the Indigo when it begins this weekend.

“It’s perfectly understandable for you to feel that elements have conspired against you in this regard and through no fault of your own expectations for rewards have been lowered.

“We feel sorry for each and every one of the players. Especially as we were so looking forward to introducing an upgrade to the Ladies Prize Fund which has been deserved for so long; but which for the moment is not possible.”

“As a player, you need to reflect on how you will react to this disappointing news. Regardless of the fact that we may not be able to guarantee the prize funds as first indicated; you will still be willing to honour the participation agreement and grace the BDO and audiences with your presence.”

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Author: Samuel Gill