BDO chairman Des Jacklin has seized the World Championship trophy from Wayne Warren following a police investigation, before declaring: ‘The BDO is very much alive’.
Warren was in possession of the prestigious trophy after being crowned the last ever BDO world champion at London’s Indigo O2 last January, although the Welshman’s success was overshadowed by controversy surrounding prize money.
‘The Yank’ received just £23,000 for his exploits – the lowest winner’s cheque since 1989 – as Jacklin attributed disappointing ticket sales and a lack of sponsorship for the reduction in prize money, which was slashed by almost 60 per cent in the men’s event.
In May 2020, BDO Enterprises Ltd entered liquidation after posting a remarkable £468,000 loss during the previous financial year, which marked the end of the British Darts Organisation’s flagship tournaments, including the World Championship and World Masters.
The United Kingdom Darts Association (UKDA) subsequently displayed a vote of no confidence in the BDO which saw them acquire the entire county system in September, although the BDO refused to formally acknowledge the acquisition.
The World Darts Federation (WDF) is set to launch its own World Masters and World Championship, while MAD (Modern Amateur Darts) will host its own events and offer amateur players the opportunity to compete for various title belts.
Warren retained his MAD World Championship title with a thrilling last-leg win over former Lakeside winner Scott Mitchell in December, and he previously insisted that he had no intention of parting with the BDO world title until he was compensated by the BDO.
Nevertheless, the Welshman was forced to hand back the trophy after an investigation was launched by South Wales Police, and Jacklin posted the following Facebook message on Friday, which has since been deleted:
“Huge thanks to the South Wales Police for recovering the BDO Men’s World Professional Trophy. The police actually seized the BDO World Professional Trophy nearly six weeks ago, but I have been waiting for time suitable for me to make 9hr round trip to collect it; today was that day.
“After investigation, the South Wales Police [legal department] had no option but to return the trophy back to its rightful owners [The BDO]. The police found it to be unlawful for anyone to try and keep property of the BDO, this is the same for any trophy unreturned. Oh yes folks, the BDO is very much alive!”
Jacklin was inundated with hundreds of angry remarks from fans, players and pundits alike, including former Lakeside semi-finalist Robbie Green and former Players Championship Finals winner Paul Nicholson.
The BDO chairman then appeared to accuse Warren of theft in a later post, writing: “I’ve just blocked and deleted over 100 people that think it’s ok to be a thief.“
Last October, Jacklin also threatened legal action against 2019 World Masters winner John O’Shea. He penned a letter stating O’Shea had signed a contract for the return of the trophy and that he had ‘several screenshots’ of the Irishman’s social media posts where he had vowed to keep the trophy.
O’Shea has maintained that he plans to keep the trophy until it can be returned to a “fully functional organisation” given the apparent demise of the BDO, but Jacklin is believed to still be pursuing the World Masters crown, having insisted that the BDO still has a future under his leadership.
Image Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC