Walk-on girls are going to be axed from PDC televised events in 2018, it has been confirmed. DartsNews.com revealed earlier this week that walk-on girls were set to be absent from Sky Sports tournaments, although this will now be the case for all major events going forward.
There had been growing speculation about the future of walk-on girls within darts over recent months, with Michael van Gerwen predicting that they would soon become a thing of the past. In an interview with Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad in December, MvG claimed: “Not that there is criticism, but darts is ready for the next step.
“A rise with music and only the player. That is what the fans ultimately wants to go to. Darts is also very much entertainment, but the PDC also wants more people to see it as a sport. It does not interest me like that. It is just a sport. People just look at it as that much. And that’s what it’s all about.
However, the move has been met with a mixed reaction on social media. Some fans have praised the decision to prioritise the sporting spectacle itself, although others have set up a petition urging the PDC to reinstate the walk-on girls, who appear to have received the backing of five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld.
Van Barneveld, replying to a tweet from walk-on girl Charlotte Wood, urged his followers to sign their petition, adding: “I will really miss the girls. For me they are a part of the darts. Sign their petition, so they hopefully can keep their jobs.”
Daniella Allfree, one of the most high-profile walk-on girls within the PDC, also tweeted: “Had the best 6 years working for the PDC. Loved every minute of being a walk-on girl and will miss the darts family so much. Best people in the world! Honoured to be a part of it for so long. Time to hang up my sparkly dresses. Thank you for everything.”
The PDC have released a brief statement confirming the decision. It reads: “We regularly review all aspects of our events and this move has been made following feedback from our host broadcasters.”