The British Darts Organisation has slammed the Government after being told it must cancel Imperial Tobacco’s sponsorship of the Embassy World Championships with immediate effect.
Tobacco sponsorship in the UK for global events ends in 2005, but for domestic events the deadline is 2003.
In November the Government invited the BDO to set out why the Embassy World Championship should be considered to be global.
This year the January tournament was won for the third time by Dutch competitor Raymond Barneveld and the BDO was hoping that this would work in its favour.
However, the organisation received a letter from the Government stating that the sponsorship did not meet the criteria to be classed as a global event and that the &£500,000-a-year sponsorship had to end this year.
A BDO spokesman claims the Government has “hindered us all the way. This leaves us with the unenviable task of finding a sponsor in ten months in time for the 2004 tournament.
“They led us to believe that we would get the same stay of execution as snooker and Formula One. The decision came as a major shock and we are now going to have to make some serious contingency plans.”