Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Darts: Top Treble Defection Stuns BDO; the PDC Are a More Professional Organisation with More Money and More Tournaments

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Darts: Top Treble Defection Stuns BDO; the PDC Are a More Professional Organisation with More Money and More Tournaments

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jon Wilde

THREE top Dutch players have followed the lead of compatriot Raymond van Barneveld by crossing the sport's bitter divide to join the Professional Darts Corporation.

Jelle Klaasen, winner of last year's Lakeside World Championship, 17-year-old sensation Michael van Gerwen and Vincent van der Voort have quit the rival British Darts Organisation for a circuit masterminded by Barry Hearn.

The news comes the day after Martin Adams succeeded Klaasen by capturing the Lakeside World Championship in Frimley Green, where speculation had been rife that the Netherlands trio were set to switch their allegiance.

Also strongly linked with the PDC was England's Mervyn King, who belongs to the same management group as the three Dutchmen.

However, King is now tied to the BDO under the terms of a contract signed by each competing player stating they would return to the Lakeside next year if they reached the semi-finals. King lost in the last four to Adams.

Klaasen, van Gerwen and van der Voort will make their PDC debuts next weekend in Gibraltar, where two Stan James Players Championship events are being held.

They will take their places alongside van Barneveld, who made the same move 11 months ago after losing the Lakeside final to Klaasen.

The 39-year-old recently dethroned Phil Taylor to claim the Ladbrokes.com World Championship title. Klaasen, who became the youngest ever world champion at the age of 21, said: "I have chosen to play for the PDC because they are a more professional organisation with more money and more tournaments.

"I am looking forward to playing in Gibraltar and in the other tournaments throughout the year and want to prove myself against the best players in the world."

Van Gerwen, winner of the Win-mau World Masters last October when he beat Adams in the final, lost in the first round to Gary Rob-son on his Lakeside debut last week despite starting as favourite. …

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