Some good news has surfaced today for young darts players and those you have not yet reached the upper echelons of the sport. The PDC are set to invest £260,000 into the future of darts in 2014 with the introduction of separate Youth and Challenge Tours on the circuit.

PDC DartsFollowing the development of the PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship in 2010-2011, the PDC introduced a Youth Tour, which catered for players aged 14-21 in 2011 and 2012.

This was expanded at the start of 2013 into the Challenge Tour, allowing players up to the age of 25 to compete in events worth £3,000 in prize money, with the system proving highly popular.

However, from 2014 onwards, the PDC will introduce a separate Youth Tour, for players aged 16-21, and Challenge Tour, for all players who compete at PDC Qualifying School but do not win Tour Cards.

The PDC Unicorn Youth Tour will have a £100,000 total prize fund on offer for up to 20 £5,000 tournaments, with a further £160,000 available for players competing on the PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour, which will feature more than 15 events worth £10,000 each in prize money.

“It’s been a pleasure to see the development of both the Youth Tour and Challenge Tour systems in the last three years,” said PDC Director Rod Harrington.

“We’re now seeing the benefit of that on the PDC ProTour but, alongside the PDPA, we’re determined to push forward, and bringing in separate Youth and Challenge Tours will create even more opportunities for players.”

Full details of the 2014 Youth Tour, Challenge Tour and World Youth Championship will be announced later in 2013.

This effectively makes the PDC a three tier system offering a structured career progression for players, but is a u-turn on allowing younger players to compete. Is 14 too young?

I’m sure the system has been constructed for all the right reasons though. For example the Challenge tour will allow struggling players to compete without the financial burden associated with the main tour.

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