The Premier League Darts line-up announcement on Monday has caused a lot of controversy with the picks of Jonny Clayton, Nathan Aspinall, Dimitri van den Bergh and Chris Dobey in particular berated on social media when the eight was announced and PDC Chief Executive, Matt Porter sat down to speak about the reasoning behind it and what goes into it.
"This year it was especially heavy on people's minds because there were so many candidates. Some years were find it relatively easy to pick the players whether it is 8, 10, 9 whatever number we've had in the past but this year there were so many players who thought they had a case. But in the same vein there were probably a lot of players with half a case," said Porter to PDC.
"Ultimately we sit down as a board, we look at every single contender and option. We analyse their performances over the last 12 months and then we make a decision and we know we're not going to please everybody."
Line-up confirmed for 2023 Premier League Darts: Debut for Dobey and returns for Aspinall and Van den Bergh
Prove us wrong
Porter sent a call to those who feel aggrieved to have missed out and said to them to prove him wrong that they are not ready for the weekly roadshow compared to those in the current eight.
"In the past we've been guilty of putting players in when they've not quite been ready and their careers have taken a negative step. One I will say actually was Michael Smith the first year he was in the Premier League, it all went badly wrong and it took a few years for him to recover and look where he is now."
"We have to make sure the time is right for people to be named in the Premier League. 16 weeks of travel, flights, hotels, intensity, media scrutiny and playing in front of crowds of 10,000, it's not easy. We don't want to over expose somebody before they are perhaps ready for it, maybe we will be proven wrong, maybe we will be proven right. But we have to make a judgement call based on our honesty and opinions. For the lads left out, prove us wrong."
One aspect likely changed going forward as well is the timing of the announcement with criticism also levied for it being announced only a few days before it begins in Belfast tomorrow.
"In the past we've announced it after the World Championship. Then you can look back on the year as a whole and that's something we have to give consideration to going forward whether we go back. It'll maybe be that's cleaner and give people more time to plan and perhaps takes away some of the controversy."
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Noppert and Smith
Two players who in particular were left out were major ranking TV winners in Ross Smith and Danny Noppert with Porter saying that he wants these players to consistently prove themselves before they are involved.
"Certainly Danny Noppert and Ross Smith who have won TV tournaments in the last 12 months can feel aggrieved. But we want to see players consistently reaching the last stages of tournaments, we want players to be ready to play in the intense cauldron of the Premier League.
"The way you can show you're ready to do that is to be consistently in the latter stages of TV tournaments. If you look at Jonny, Nathan, Dimitri, they have been doing over the last one, two or three years and that shows us that they are big stage players that are ready to do it."
"Put us in a position where we've got no choice, get to those quarter-finals, semi-finals, finals month in month out on the big stage and show us that you're worthy of a place."
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