THE PDC are to invest £260,000 into the future of darts in 2014 with the introduction of a separate Youth Tour and Challenge Tour on the PDC circuit.
Following 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.