Dear Des & BDO Board of Directors.
Further to the communication we received on Thursday evening concerning events within the BDO Invitational system, there are several concerns we have.
1. Some events have already taken place following the Invitational table existing rules as of the 1st October 2019
2. The changing of the rules will affect events which are already advertised and published, which includes the awarded categories and prize breakdowns along with entry criteria as per the existing rules.
a) Are the events which have already taken place in the Invitation table of 2019-2020 to be charged retrospectively, or even removal of points allocated should this retrospective payment either withheld or Countries not in a financial position to pay this, due to their commercial budgetary commitments to when these events were held?
b) Or are we to have a two tier Invitation table where events prior to the 1st January 2020, are accepted under the previous regulations in the BDO handbook, and only events held after are subject to the new regulations issue to the countries on Thursday 28th November 2019?
3. England are a responsible organisation, we have due diligence of accessing the viability of our events, and within that parameter, attempting to give our customers (the players) the highest available category in the system, we budget our events to take into account, prize monies, officials costings, upkeep of equipment, and just as important attempting to cover these cost from our sponsors. To change the criteria of the BDO Invitational table after we have done all the above for this year’s events, leaves us with serious financial problems as:
a) Increasing the entry fees of around £3 per event per player, could have a drastic effect on the entries which in turn will make a reduction in profits for the sponsor, with the resulting ongoing problem of securing future deals at a similar package.
b) Reduction of prize monies then gives us a problem that the advertise Category would then decreased to the level below, and puts us in conflict with our advertised event criteria, especially as some players have already entered under the original criteria, and possibly organised their hotels and transport to attend the events. If players demand a refund, due to the fact what they purchased (which is a contract between themselves and us by completing the enter fee), is not what they are receiving. Who is responsible for paying this refund?
c) The only other option open to us would be to increase the membership costs to our member counties to around £500; we have no current mandate from our members therefor this is not an option we would consider.
4. Having done the calculations on our (England) events of 2019 this new levy if repeated from 1st Jan, 2020 will result in the England’s accounts, being £9296.00 worse off for the 2020 financial year, this is a serious situation considering we don’t make this amount of profit in any year, resulting in ourselves trading at a loss, and to be quite honest we have not even had a chance to address this in any of the options above.
5. With all the uncertainty surrounding the financial viability or even guarantee of this year’s World Championships taking place, due to the poor current take up of tickets for the O2 how can anyone have any confidence that the 3 or in fact any of the 2020 TV events, will take place.
6. If, however this increase is as you mention in the communication is for the development of IT systems, and not for underpinning future/current event prize funds, we are at a loss to see where the BDO could possibly need this type of potential figure. However, if it is to be used as income to underpin events and/ or current contractual agreements then surely some immediate statement should be forthcoming as to the ongoing viability of the BDO in its present form.
7. The England Directors and our commercial partners need time before we can confirm our commitment to this forthcoming season invitation table. In the case of the Isle of Man we have not this time available as players have, and are already booked for the event under the terms and conditions advertised in conjunction with our contractual agreements with the Isle of Man Government, and we need to advise them immediately on Monday 2nd December, 2019, on this change of policy from the BDO.
8 We would ask that a reconsideration of action taken by the BDO Board of Directors and a reappraisal of the business areas the BDO can confidentially continue with, to save the company be taken ASAP.
9 England are not against the idea that to give BDO Invitation points, should result in a fee, however this fee/fees should have been put in a document to all the countries, for them to consider, and then they could make a commercial decision event by event, with their own national executives.
10 If this was to start from 1st October 2020, we could have, perhaps made some attempts to address these new costs but at this late notice I am currently taking advice from The England Directors and our commercial partners before we can confirm our commitment to this forthcoming seasons invitation table, and to be honest the financial figures within the England Darts Organisation, will make this virtually impossible without affecting our trading accounts for 2020.
Obviously we are mindful that any of our events this year not carrying BDO Invitation points will undoubtedly affect our entry levels, the England executive will have a decision to be made as to whether the loss of participants and their associated entry fees will equal the potential global expected levy of £10,000 we are facing in 2020.
We really don’t know!!!
Perhaps the level of entries and subsequent reduction of participation at our events will result in lesser prize funds for the players at England events, with resulting current contracts being in jeopardy and needing to be re-negotiated at lower levels or discontinued.
Chairman England Darts Organisation Limited