A new rule is set to be introduced by the PDC to reduce the number of byes in European Tour events next year.
The number of late player withdrawals has been a growing source of frustration for both the PDC and darts fans during the season.
In an interview with the Weekly Dartscast, Matt Porter, the PDC’s chief executive, revealed discussions will be had with the PDPA to limit the number of byes in European Tour events.
“We’re going to change the rules,” Porter said. “We do not like these byes at all.
“It’s been very frustrating having the late withdrawals, sometimes genuine, with travel issues, and other times players just decide that they don’t fancy getting on an aeroplane.
“It’s a shame because every time they make that decision they’re denying somebody else the opportunity to do so and we don’t want that.
“We’ve got a meeting in Leicester with the PDPA this week and we will thrash out a rule that means that we really minimise the chances of us getting byes.
“We’ll do everything we can to make sure there’s 48 players in the starting line-up of every Euro Tour event next year.”
After a pandemic-affected last two years, the European Tour has returned to its pre Covid-19 full schedule of 13 events in 2022.
Last month’s Belgian Darts Championship, the penultimate event of this season, saw three players withdraw before the tournament, bringing the total number of pre-event withdrawals this year up to 27.
In 2019, the last year to have previously featured 13 European Tour events, there were seven pre-tournament withdrawals.
The darts leader revealed its calendar for 2023 last week, which will once again include 13 events on the European Tour.
Next year’s line-up will see the PDC make its debut in Kiel, one of eight stops in Germany, along with trips to the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
The Gibraltar Darts Trophy later this month will be the last edition of its 10-year run, with the Gibraltar event dropping off the line-up for 2023.
“I read a lot of comments and people saying it’s just the German tour,” Porter continued. “It’s absolute nonsense.
“Germany is a huge country. It’s a massive darts country. An event in north Germany has got nothing to do with an event in south Germany.
“If there was demand for steel tip darts in France or Croatia or wherever then we’d take a European Tour event there.
“What we’re not going to do is take an event to somewhere where there’s going to be 200 people in the crowd and it creates zero atmosphere.
“You’ve seen the atmospheres the Euro Tour can create. Belgium, Hungary and Prague, these are well-established events.
“We always want to expand and explore new territories, but it has to be the right place, not just for the sake of it.
“Gibraltar’s had a good run. We’ve had a great partnership there with the government in Gibraltar.
“It’s obviously a very small territory and the general consensus after a decade was it had had a good run, but let’s look to evolve.”
Listen to the full interview with PDC chief executive Matt Porter via the player below
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