BDO World Championship: Martin Adams's role running the game

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport
Martin Adams
Adams is bidding for a third successive Lakeside title

Politics in darts is confusing at the best of times but Martin Adams'external-link views are gloriously clear.

There may not be a battle as such between the Professional Darts Corporationexternal-link and the British Darts Organisationexternal-link - but three-time Lakeside world champion Adams is a BDO man and always will be.

Arguably the biggest name in the BDO, Adams's loyalty and desire for the organisation to succeed has seen him gravitate to the running of the game.

If the 55-year-old is to defend the title he retained by beating Dean Winstanley 7-5 in the final last year, he will do it as a member of the BDO board, having been voted on last summer.

"Everybody thought it would affect my game but I like to think it hasn't. I still believe I'm playing great darts," Adams told BBC Sport.

"I just have to make sure that, when I'm at a tournament, if any decisions need making then I have to step back from them. I can't be making decisions that might affect me in a particular event. It wouldn't be right to do that."

Adams's election to the board, along with four other new members, came at the expense of Olly Croft, the 82-year-old who had spent 38 years running the game.

Croft's tenure included a dispute in the early 1990s between administrators and some of the world's top players.

The result was the formation of the World Darts Council in 1992. It first held its own version of the world championship in 1994 and later became the PDC.

Prior to the vote that saw him elected, Adams put his name to a letter sent to local darts authorities that said "a failure to act at this point in time will only act as putting a further nail in the coffin of the BDO".

Covering all aspects of the governing body, from the youth system to how it treats the PDC, the letter was a vision for the future shared by Adams, Barry Gilbey, Sue Getty, Derek Weston and Wayne Williams, all of whom were elected to run the game.

"Some of the other new board members came to me and asked if I would stand," Adams added.

"I gave it long thought and then decided to go for it. I didn't expect to get voted in, so it was a bit of a shock when I did. But, after standing and getting voted in, you have to do what you need to do.

"One of the biggest criticisms that came from the players and officials was that we were standing still, going around in circles every year. Lots and lots of players thought that. Hopefully now they can see we're pushing forward."

That "pushing forward" seems to centre around improving conditions at existing tournaments, increasing the prize money available and getting more BDO events on television.

In Adams's words, the BDO has to be "attractive for players" so they are not tempted to jump ship and play for "the other side".

To put that task into context, Adrian Lewis picked up a £200,000 cheque for winning the PDC title on Monday, double that on offer for the Lakeside champion. At the beginning of the PDC showpiece at Alexandra Palace, eight of the top 10 in that version of the world rankings were former BDO players.

But Adams, who thinks any repeat of PDC chairman Barry Hearn's takeover offer of 2010 would be "rejected by a massive majority", is bullish about the job on his hands.

"We hope there's new tournaments coming up after the World Championships; that is our intention. We can't just sit back and hope it happens. We've got to get up and make sure it happens," he said.

"I want to see the BDO as a successful organisation that is driving forward, providing new events for our players and better playing conditions at some of the events.

"It's always disappointing when you lose a player to the other side, but I dare say it would be disappointing for Barcelona if Lionel Messi suddenly decided he wanted to leave.

"You wouldn't stand in anyone's way because, if you did, you wouldn't get the performance out of him anyway. That's the situation we don't want to be in.

"The new board recognises that we need to make sure our system is attractive to these players, that they haven't got a desire to go elsewhere, that they're happy to stay with the BDO system."

If he succeeds, Adams's legacy to the BDO could be much greater than that of a three-time world champion.