Van Gerwen and Van der Voort launch MAD Benelux initiative to make amateur darts more attractive

Amateur darts in the Netherlands needs a facelift, according to Michael van Gerwen and Vincent van der Voort. The establishment of the organisation MAD Benelux should provide a boost for ambitious and recreational dart players. This became clear during a presentation of their plans which Dutch website attended.

Van der Voort takes a seat on the board of MAD Benelux, which also consists of John Lokken and Gerard Elderenbosch, while Van Gerwen is ambassador and shareholder of the international organisation of Modern Amateur Darts (MAD).

Modern Amateur Darts organised several title contests at the end of 2020 with the MAD world title, European MAD title and the national MAD titles of England, Scotland and Wales all at stake.

However, the tournament offerings do not stop at title fights alone. Both the international organisation of MAD and MAD Benelux are creating new regional tournaments with the aim of making the sport more attractive for amateur darts.

'It is always interesting to participate in MAD Benelux tournaments'

''I want to help because I think it is time for renewal,” said Van der Voort, explaining his decision to join MAD Benelux. ''Of course, I also came from the amateur circuit. I notice in our area (Purmerend, ed.), that more and more tournaments are disappearing.

“When I played in the youth circuit, there were eighteen Dutch ranking tournaments (NDB) and later there were fourteen, twelve and now only six. Too many good dart players stay at home and don't go to the NDB tournaments. Darts has not become less popular in Holland, but it must be made more interesting.''

To make it more attractive for recreational players, Van der Voort wants to lower the threshold to participate. “In my neighbourhood there are quite a few people who can throw well. They just don't want to play tournaments all over the country.

“But if they can go to tournaments in the neighbourhood, they will go there to see how far they can go. In my time at the NDB ranking, you also saw players stop coming after they had four or five bad tournaments, but because all our tournament winners qualify for a main tournament, it is always interesting to participate.

“That is what I mean by making it interesting for the amateur players. People can always throw when they want, I think that is very important and that is what I miss now.''

''The most important thing is that people think that there are nice tournaments organised at MAD, where you can also qualify for a main tournament if you do well. That is a short route to qualify for the World Championship and to play darts in your own country'', added Van der Voort.

The important amateur tournaments that are currently played in the Netherlands fall under the flag of the Dutch Darts Association (NDB) and the World Darts Federation (WDF). With these federations, a reconciliation has been sought for a cooperation with MAD.

In an ideal scenario, this cooperation leads to the organisation of one World Championship for amateur darts, instead of several World Championships organised by different federations.

MAD wants to award points for its own MAD ranking at designated tournaments held by the NDB and WDF. Discussions are currently underway with both federations about this prospect.

MAD Benelux organises regional tournaments and three main tournaments

Amateur darts in the Benelux can qualify for the major tournaments by playing events in their own region. These events are broadcast by the organisation through a stream.

One of these tournaments is the MAD Benelux Open. For this tournament, 128 men’s qualification tournaments and 32 women’s qualification tournaments are played in Dutch, Belgian and Luxembourg pubs.

The winner of each qualification tournament gets to play in the Benelux Open, where all participants are assured of prize money. However, a player has to be a member of MAD to participate in such a main tournament.

If a player is not yet a member, the cost of the annual membership (25 euros) will be deducted from the prize money. The prize pool for the Benelux Open is a minimum of 18,000 Euros.

No membership is required to participate in the pub qualifiers and interested amateur players can also participate in an unlimited number of these pub qualifiers without any restrictions.

The board is still working on setting up two other main tournaments. One of these tournaments is open to the winners of the NDB tournaments, winners of events organised by MAD Benelux and a certain number of players from The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg through the MAD ranking system.

The winners of these three main tournaments qualify for the MAD World Championship, therefore it is possible to qualify for the World Championship by winning two tournaments (regional tournament and main tournament).

In addition, the number one in the MAD ranking in the Benelux qualifies for the MAD World Championship.

Venues for main tournaments

Last weekend, the organisation of MAD Benelux visited several locations in the Netherlands to see where the three main tournaments can be played, and the board will make a decision about the locations imminently.

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