- FED – FEDERACIÓN ESPAÑOLA DE DARDOS
By Matt Smith, Vice President of the FED
Way back in 1990, a chap from Alicante named Miguel Pernas had a dream. To take darts in Spain to an international level. And so the FED, or Federación Española de Dardos was born.
Miguel managed to create a national championships in a large country and unite the many leagues operating independently throughout Spain, every year sending the national champions to the Winmau World Masters and the World Championship Qualifiers. He did this on a shoestring budget for many years before handing over the reins to younger blood 5 years ago, realising that darts the “old way“had come as far as it could go. Since then Spanish darts has seen more and more home grown players take to the international stage.
Players like the reigning Grand Slam Champion, Jose De Sousa who, although Portuguese, has played most of his career within the FED. Or indeed Julio Barbero, Toni Alcinas and Cristo Reyes, all coming through the ranks over the years to take part at the highest level. Soft tip darts (the electronic machines found in bars throughout the country) has always been popular in Spain, the national team being the current Phoenix world champions, and the FED has had to find a happy medium to evolve alongside this other format.
The FED is currently the governing body for 7 autonomous regions in Spain, these being Madrid, Galicia, Aragon, Andalucia, Castilla La Mancha, The Basque Country and The Valencian Community.
Each autonomous community takes charge of its own financial affairs and governs the local leagues affiliated to it, with all players involved getting the chance to compete in the Spanish Nationals held in May. The nationals embody everything good about darts in our country, a friendly atmosphere where players take their families and enjoy a holiday at the same time as playing the sport they love.
Many of the competitions, for example the team games, the league selections and the region teams, within the Nationals are played purely for pride, but there is also the serious element with two singles events and a pairs event that decide who will represent Spain at international level for the coming year.
Currently, the FED sends teams to the WDF Europe and World Cups, The WDF Med Cup (for Mediterranean nations), the World Masters and the World Championships.
The FED is proudly sponsored by Winmau, who supply the boards that are used at the nationals and regional championships. A national ranking system is ready to go live once the pandemic eases and will see another 7 national tournaments around the country added to the calendar.
The FED also scored another victory back in 2018 when it won Spain the right to hold the next WDF Europe Cup, to be held in Gandía, Valencia in September 2022.
Darts in Spain is growing all the time and the long term plan, aside from having a Spanish world champion, is that it continues its current trend and becomes a major player internationally, on a par with England or the Netherlands.
The FED would like to thank Paul Durrant for helping us to raise the awareness of darts in our small area of Spain, an area which has provided multiple national team, singles and pairs champions. More on those players past and present in part 2, if Paul will allow me to take up some more of his paper space!
As any top darts player will tell you, playing in a league like the One Way Services Thursday Night League is all it takes to give players the chance to compete and aim higher, and who knows? Perhaps that next world champion the FED is looking for is already taking part in our league. All it takes is the desire and a hell of a lot of practise!
Today I actually picked up my darts for the first time in months. Needless to say, I`m going to need a few more hours/days on the board before I can hit the level I`m used to again.
Last week I told you a bit about the history of the Spanish Darts Federation, and I would like to expand a bit on how the nationals is set up and mention a few of our local players past and present who have competed over the years.
To take part in the Spanish Nationals, a player only has to be registered in one of the leagues affiliated to the FED. The nationals are always held around the May-Day bank holiday and are an unforgettable festival of darts. There are always two singles events (for men and ladies), a pair’s event, mixed pairs, men’s and ladies team event, league selections and regional selections.
From one of the singles events we determine the men and ladies Spanish champions, in this event the winner and runner up of the men and the winner of the ladies competition win an all expenses paid trip to represent Spain at the World Masters and World championship qualifiers, they are joined by the mens pairs winners. To date we have had many Spanish champions in these competitions from our neck of the woods.
Some names you may recognise: Darren Sanderson in the singles and pairs, currently playing in the Gap team, Kevin Knott back in 2009, ex-England player Gene Raymond in 2002, past pairs champions include Steve Hatton, Matt Robson, Keith Lowman and of course Mark Farmer and Sam Salt most recently in 2016.
There is one ladies player from our area who stands out above everyone else, Karen Winter, who has been crowned Spanish singles champion on no less than 7 occasions.
The other singles competition sees players randomly divided into 4 groups with the winner of each group winning an all expenses paid trip to represent Spain in either the WDF Europe Cup or WDF World Cup, wherever they are held.
In 2019 James Brown from The Gap and Karen Winter represented us in the Spain team in the World Cup in Cluj, Romania, while yours truly was playing for Spain alongside Karen in the European cup in Budapest, Hungary in 2018.
This year’s World Cup will hopefully be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, with 2022`s Europe Cup taking place in Gandía, Spain.
Upcoming WDF Europe/World Cups
|2021 WC||Copenhagen, Denmark|
|2022 EC||Gandía, Spain|
|2023 WC||Seoul, South Korea|
|2024 EC||Selsey, UK|
The team events determine the best team, league and region in Spain. In the team event, up to 6 players represent their local team in a tournament with 6 singles and 3 doubles matches in each game on 3 simultaneous boards, essentially a race to 5 points to win.
The league selections is comprised of 5 players playing a single leg round robin simultaneously against the opposing team, (25 games) with the first team reaching 13 points being declared the winners. The Vega Baja team famously won this event in a final leg decider against Málaga in 2017 (see main picture).
however seem to have no problem in this event, winning the past 3 tournaments and being victorious in every year they have taken part since 2004. Our league secretary Simone De Lacy was part of the ladies team that were victorious in 2017, alongside Amanda Skinner, Bliss Wright, Diane Dane, Ann Wharton and of course Karen Winter.
As you can see, we are the most successful area of Spain in darts; hopefully we can continue the trend and bring more players through to hit the heights these players have.
Once again, I would like to thank Paul for allowing me to explain how it all works in Spain, and I look forward to working with him closely in the future to help maintain the years of success our area enjoys.