UKDA release final proposal for future of County darts

The United Kingdom Darts Association (UKDA) have released their final proposals for the future of County darts in Britain.

Headed up by Colin Savage and Johnny Stefano, the UKDA states that it was “formed to re-brand and improve the image of the grassroots game in the UK”, and that the future for them is “about UKDA and the individual counties working together to preserve the history of County darts”.

Regarding the County divisions themselves, the most noticeable differences in their rebrand are the naming and the prize money available. Under their system, the National League structure would comprise the Premier League, Championship, Division One, Division Two, Division Three and two divisions in Scotland: North and South.

Proposed Divisions

Premier League: Cornwall, Devon, Essex, Glamorgan, Hampshire, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Warwickshire, Northants, Lincolnshire

Championship: Cheshire, London, West Midlands, Dorset, Humberside, Staffordshire, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, Sussex, Hertfordshire

Division One: Kent, Buckinghamshire, Gwent, Berkshire, Somerset, Worcestershire, Suffolk, Surrey, Gwynedd, Nottinghamshire

Division Two: Cleveland, Merseyside, Derbyshire, Clwyd, Norfolk, County Durham, Middlesex, Cumbria, Wiltshire, Montgomery & Radnor

Division Three: Leicestershire, Bedforshire, West of England, Tyne & Wear, Northumberland, Breconshire, Gloucestershire, Pembrokeshire, Shropshire, Isle of Wight

Scotland North: Grampian, Fife, Angus, Highland, East Stirlingshire, Perthshire, Central, Tay Valley

Scotland South: Greater Glasgow, Borders, Ayrshire, Lothian, Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Clackmannanshire

The UKDA intend to run their County seasons from September to May, with each side playing one fixture per month during the season. The current season is, of course, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic but the organisation are hoping to begin in the early part of 2021.

According to their proposals, which have been costed in some detail, they would be able to offer a £12,000 prize pot per division per season, with the winning County receiving £2,400 and those finishing last getting £480. The UKDA would also provide £1,000 in National League Monthly Awards for the highest male and female averages in each division.

These increased prize funds would, in part, be paid for by the member counties. Each County to come under the UKDA model would be expected to pay £910 per season, a sum covering their entry fee, insurance and membership. Each County will also be invited to purchase shares in the UKDA, at £100 for 100 shares, which would entitle them to a vote at the UKDA’s annual meetings, tentatively scheduled for August.

The other charge would come from players, who are to pay an annual £10 UKDA Super League entrance fee. Costs for this per County will be limited at £2,200, so even if they had 450 registered Super League players, they would only pay 220 x £100.

Payment of this Super League entrance fee guarantees players entry into their proposed National Singles and Pairs competitions, as well a Super League Cup. Every paid UKDA member is eligible to compete in these events, while players from Guernsey, Jersey, the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland would be able to enter qualification play-offs run in these territories. All PDC Tour Card holders who have played in at least 50% of Super League games would also be eligible, but National events would be streamed live through Youtube.

The National League Singles and Pairs would have a prize fund of £19,850, with the Men’s Singles winner receiving £3,500 and all other tournament winners getting £1,500. The Super League Cup would have a £5,000 prize fund, with the money evenly split between the men and the women.

In their initial proposals the UKDA mooted the idea of a tour, with 10 singles events over the course of a calendar year, but this idea has been removed from their final proposals.

The UKDA also propose to work with existing youth darts organisations to run and support events, and help provide funding for the Disability Darts Assocation.

In terms of player benefits, the UKDA have partnered with DartConnect and they hoped to get it running at all Super League venues within three years. More interestingly, they have teamed up with Nuffield Health, Anytime Fitness and Puregym to offer discounted gym membership to all UKDA members, showing a drive to put the physical and mental health of all players at the forefront.

Moving forward, the UKDA state that they hope to partner with, and work alongside, the World Darts Federation, England Darts Organisation, Welsh Darts Organisation and Scottish Darts Organisation.

The full proposal and budget for the UKDA can be found on their website, and now players can compare with those of the British Darts Organisation and Tri-Nations Darts. Final decisions from most counties are not to be expected for at least a month or so.

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