The World Darts Federation (WDF) have made some fundamental modifications to its playing structure, with the implementation of a 2-year ranking system and with the season-ending WDF World Championships now taking place in early December each year.
The 48 men and 24 women who have already qualified by right for the Lakeside World Championship will be invited to compete at “the Home of World Darts” in Frimley Green, England from Saturday 2nd December to Sunday 10th December 2023.
Richard Ashdown, WDF Chief Development Officer, said: “The past three years have dealt the WDF many unforeseen challenges. Through the demise of the British Darts Organisation, the Coronavirus pandemic, and the current economic climate, we have endeavoured to restructure and stabilise grassroots darts on a global scale.”
“Delivering a viable Lakeside World Championships was always our priority, along with developing a truly worldwide system for all men, women, and youth players. Over 100 WDF ranking events in 2022 and the success of the Australian Darts Open, the Europe Cup in Spain and the recent Winmau World Masters in the Netherlands are further testament to those objectives.”
“When we first implemented the new ranking system, the WDF intended its playing season to run from January to December, with the World Championships starting on the first Saturday of each calendar year. However, the scheduling of PDC Qualifying School in early January 2023 and the logistics of the darting calendar more broadly makes the traditional Lakeside dates impossible without compromising the players involved.”
“The decision has therefore been made to safeguard the long-term future of the WDF system by rescheduling the Lakeside showpiece to December. We believe that a further 12 months of transition will result in a stronger WDF structure for the next 12 years, and beyond.”
To help implement these changes smoothly, the WDF will immediately adopt a 2-year (104 week) rolling system for the Main and Regional rankings tables. Therefore, all points earned from January 16th 2022 will remain on both the Main and Regional ranking tables for 2 years.
These changes to the WDF ranking system and dates for the WDF World Championships also necessitate a change to the scheduling of the World Masters for 2023 and beyond. More information on this will be released in due course.
Winners of Platinum and Gold ranking events in both 2023 and 2024 will qualify automatically for the 2024 WDF World Championships, scheduled to be held from Saturday November 30th to Sunday 8th December.
Following communications with the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC), the WDF can confirm that the six qualified players (Lisa Ashton, Sebastian Białecki, Beau Greaves, Robert Owen, Ben Robb & Raymond Smith) competing in December 2022 in the PDC World Darts Championship will still be eligible to play in December 2023 in the WDF Lakeside Championships.
In compliance with WDF rules, following PDC Q-School in January 2023, the 128 players declared as Tour Card holders will be ineligible to play in WDF ranked events throughout 2023.
Should any of the 72 players in the current invitation list for the 2023 WDF World Championships decline their invitation or become ineligible to compete, they will be replaced by the highest ranked player(s) in the WDF Main Ranking tables on Monday 30th October 2023 not already qualified.
Seeding for the 2023 WDF World Championship will be based on the WDF Main Ranking positions as of Monday 30th October 2023, with the draws to take place in early November.
The men’s top 16 will be seeded and drawn against winners from the first round (players ranked 17-32 will be drawn at random against those ranked 33 and below).
The women’s top 8 will be seeded and drawn against winners from the first round (players ranked 9-16 will be drawn at random against those ranked 17 and below).
The finals of the 2023 WDF World Youth Championships will take place at Lakeside in December alongside the Men’s and Women’s tournaments. More information on the 2023 WDF Youth tour will be revealed in the near future.
The 2023 Lakeside WDF World Championships will take place at the Lakeside Country Club, Frimley Green, England from Saturday 2nd to Sunday 10th December with the 2024 Lakeside WDF World Championships scheduled for Saturday 30th November to Sunday 8th December.