BDO expands the 2014 World Darts Championship to 40 players

The British Darts Organisation says next year's World Professional Darts Championships will feature the highest number of competitors in its history.

An extra eight places will be added to the men's tournament, taking the overall number of participants to 40.

The event, held at the Lakeside Country Club in Frimley Green, Surrey, will also include a women's field of 16.

"This is a significant, exciting and progressive step forward," said BDO tournament director Wayne Williams.

A total of 32 players in the men's tournament will come from the BDO Invitational Table, the World Professional International Play-Offs and the Winmau World Masters Champion if he has not already qualified.

The remaining eight entrants will secure participation from competitions within the worldwide regions of the World Darts Federation.

Scott Waites will defend his title after beating Tony O'Shea in this year's final.

The 16 women will come from the BDO Invitation Table, the World Professional International Play-Offs and include the Winmau World Masters Champion if she has not already qualified by other means.

Williams added: "Not only does it illustrate the global increase in the higher standards of BDO and WDF players, but it also satisfies the growing TV audiences created by BBC coverage."

The tournament, which runs from 4-12 January, 2014, will be shown live by the BBC for the next three years.