The PDC has released details of the 2018 Q-School, amid debate over entry fees and the nature of Challenge Tour membership.
Any player aged 16 or above will be able to enter a Q-School tournament. Players from England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Gibraltar are permitted to enter the UK event in Wigan. Players from 43 eligible European nations may enter the European Q-School in Hildesheim, Germany. Non-European players are able to attend either of the tournaments, which will be staged from January 18-21.
Eight automatic PDC Tour Cards will be available to successful UK-based players across the four days, meaning all tournament finalists receive a card. The offer of four automatic Tour Cards to European qualifiers means only the winners on each day in Hildesheim will claim one. Remaining cards will be assigned according to players’ Q-School Order of Merit ranking. The fee of £400 plus a £50 DRA sanction fee – plus a further £100 for Tour Card winners – has raised eyebrows, with some questioning the steep rise from 2017.

Concerns have been raised over the ability of potential Q-School participants to raise the funds to take part. The fee increase was defended by Chris Mason, who called it “par for the course”.

Also facing a change is the PDC Challenge Tour, which in 2018 will only be open to Q-School participants. As of this year, the PDPA will not offer a “Challenge Tour only” membership. Additionally, the field for Players Championship events will be topped up using the Challenge Tour Order of Merit, rather than the Q-School Order of Merit.
Earlier this month, Barry Hearn confirmed that Glen Durrant would need to attend Q-School in order to gain a Tour Card, after rumours that the BDO world champion would be offered one by the PDC.

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Author: Ed McCosh