The PDC's decision to change the qualification format for its European Tour events has proven to be a somewhat controversial decision with many players sharing their discontent. According to CEO Matt Porter however, it's nothing more than an overreaction.
So what are the controversial changes? Well, in the past, only the top-16 of the Pro Tour Order of Merit were granted automatic invitations to a Euro Tour tournament. This year, that benefit is also given to the top-16 of the PDC Order of Merit. In short, this means that the amount of qualification spots on offer to those outside the sport's elite has dropped from 24 to just 10.
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"We looked at it in the context of how we want to keep building the European Tour," Porter explains of the changes in conversation with Online Darts. "The European Tour has come a long way over its decade of existence and it's got a long, long way to go to hit the heights that we want it to achieve. It's got more countries to go to, it's got more prize money to offer, it's got bigger crowds to generate."
"Having two-thirds of the players coming from qualifying tournaments we felt was just too high," Porter continues. "We felt we needed to underpin a quantity of pretty much guaranteed big names, the players who are at the top of the rankings for a reason because they are the best players in the world. We still keep the door open for a lot of other players to qualify, there's still 10 players coming through the qualifier."
"This isn't the door being closed by any stretch of the imagination," he insists. "I accept it's gone from 24 spots to a smaller number but nevertheless, there's still going to be a large crossover of players from the rankings and from the qualifier that would've got through anyway. I think there's been a bit of an overreaction to it, if I'm honest."