The PDC announced this week that players who have qualified for the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace in December will not be allowed to compete at the WDF World Championship at Lakeside earlier that month.
For players without a PDC Tour Card, it is possible to qualify for both World Championships through a variety of routes. However, the PDC wants to keep their World Championship players exclusive to their tournament.
Darting dilemma as PDC bans players from competing at both WDF Lakeside World Championship and Ally Pally
There is a lot of criticism on social media about the PDC's decision, but in my opinion it is an excellent decision. It is a crazy notion to enter World Championships at two completely different organisations in a three-week period. I can't think of a sport where that is possible.
This move can also be seen as protecting its own product. The PDC has every right to do so, as they put millions of money in prize money into the sport every year. Moreover, I think the PDC also wants to prevent Tour Card holders who are low on the ranking from thinking they are better off without a PDC Tour Card, so that they can possibly take a piece of the pie from all sides (various organisations such as PDC,WDF, MODUS, World Seniors etc.).
The PDC's decision affects three players; Luke Littler, Beau Greaves and Berry van Peer. They have currently qualified for both World Championships and therefore have to choose where they want to participate. Luke Littler has already indicated he wants to go to Alexandra Palace, and Berry van Peer can also be expected to make the same choice.
Littler first player to make choice between PDC and WDF World Championship after ban news confirmed
How different is it for Beau Greaves, who has already whispered by some insiders that she will almost certainly choose Lakeside. The 19-year-old Englishwoman seems to be at a crossroads early on in her career.
The choice on the one hand is participation in the PDC Darts World Championship, if she prefers sporting ambition. The goal of most athletes is to get the most out of yourself and your career. At the PDC, you get the chance to compete (with a Tour Card and weekly competition) with the best darts players in the world. Such an environment helps an athlete become better.
The other choice Greaves can make is participating in the WDF World Championship in Frimley Green. There, 'Beau 'n' Arrow' will find herself in a safe environment, knowing that she is very likely to collect the women's world title (without serious opposition) and the cheque that goes with it. This amount stood at £25,000 in 2022. In terms of prestige, there is little to be gained when top players like Fallon Sherrock and Mikuru Suzuki are (possibily) not competing against her.
For someone with sporting ambition, the choice should be a no-brainer. Look at Fallon Sherrock. She made history at the 2020 PDC World Championship by becoming the first woman ever to win a match at Alexandra Palace. She ended up winning two matches (against Ted Evetts and Mensur Suljovic), but that one tournament did change her life, something a women's world title would never bring about. To this day, Sherrock benefits from that World Championship slice of history with lucrative sponsorship deals, bookings for exhibitions and other events as the MODUS Super Series were Sherrock made even more history by hitting a nine-darter.
The right guidance with a player like Greaves is important, but you can question whether she has gathered the right people around her. Sounds sometimes seep through about her questionable way of preparing during WDF tournaments. Moreover, she has a sister in her entourage who does not know how to behave, as was the case earlier this year at the WDF Romanian Darts Festival. There, Bobbi Greaves picked a fight with people in the audience and even had to be calmed down by her sister Beau.
Women in sports often have the upper hand when it comes to opportunities due to advances in sporting equality, and in darts, too, female players have regularly complained about this. The PDC has invested heavily in women's darts in recent years and has now established a circuit of 24 tournaments, plus its own television tournament and, through the Women's Series circuit, access to major tournaments such as the Grand Slam of Darts and the World Darts Championship.
Greaves' fellow players should speak to her on this as she is one of the stars of women's darts. If Greaves chooses to participate in the WDF World Championship, then all Greaves' future words about wanting more opportunities for women at the PDC will be worth nothing.