Five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld will headline the list of players bidding to claim one of 29 available Tour Cards at next month’s PDC Qualifying Schools.
This year’s battle to secure Tour Cards in Milton Keynes and Niedernhausen will be split across First Stage – to be held in two three-day blocks from February 8-10 & 11-13 – and Final Stage, which will take place from February 14-17.
The top 64 on the Order of Merit following the recent World Championship their Tour Card status in 2021, alongside the 31 players that prevailed at Qualifying School 12 months ago, which includes four-time women’s world champion Lisa Ashton.
The top two players from each of the final 2021 PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour and Development Tour Orders of Merit earned a two-year Tour Card for 2021-22, seeing David Evans, Ritchie Edhouse, Keane Barry and Berry van Peer step onto the Pro Tour this year.
That leaves 29 Tour Cards to play for across the two Qualifying Schools, with 12 places initially going to the last two on each day at the UK Qualifying School and the winner on each day at the European Qualifying School.
The remaining 17 places will be allocated to the respective Qualifying School Orders of Merit, being split pro-rata based on entries, which close at 2pm on Monday January 18.
Van Barneveld is set to be the most high-profile name in action, as he bids to return to the PDC circuit despite only retiring following the 2020 World Championship, which saw him suffer an opening-round exit at the hands of Darin Young.
Three-time world champion John Part is also expected to be in attendance, alongside two-time PDC major winner Robert Thornton, who has relinquished his Tour Card following more than a decade at the top level.
Former World Championship finalists Kevin Painter, Mark Dudbridge and Kirk Shepherd will also be in action, whilst 2018 semi-finalist Jamie Lewis is expected to compete in a bid to regain his card, having lost 3-2 to eventual winner Gerwyn Price in the second round of this year’s event.
Image Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC