PLAYERS are to receive a further boost in 2018 with the removal of entry fees for Players Championship events, UK Open Qualifiers and European Tour events.

The continued expansion of the PDC circuit this year had seen prize money increased in 2017 for Players Championship and European Tour events, as well as rises for many televised events.

Next year's progression will see PDC Tour Card Holders and PDPA Associate Members enter ProTour and European Tour events for free.

"This is another significant step towards darts becoming a major global professional sport," said PDC Chairman Barry Hearn.

"I'm sure that this news will be welcomed by both our Tour Card Holders and the Associate Members who will benefit from the removal of entry fees, which previously cost around £4,000 per year for players.

"This move has been fully supported by the PDPA and gives additional value to players who hold the 128 coveted PDC Tour Cards, guaranteeing them entry to all of the 22 Players Championship events to be held next year.

"All Tour Card Holders and players who compete at the 2018 PDC Qualifying Schools in the UK and Europe will also be eligible to enter for free into the six UK Open Qualifiers and for all 13 European Tour events.

"With Qualifying School expanding to two locations, this has already increased the opportunities for players to secure their PDC Tour Card - the 'golden ticket' to becoming a superstar in darts!"

Players will still register to enter tournaments in advance ahead of an entry deadline, and withdrawals may still incur a DRA referral.

PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour and PDC Unicorn Development Tour events will continue to have entry fees, as will European Tour Qualifying Events for players who are not a PDPA Member.

Entries for the 2018 PDC Qualifying School are now available - click here for further details.