Gary Anderson will begin the defence of his Champions League of Darts title against Michael Smith when the BBC-televised tournament gets under way on Saturday October 19.

The fourth staging of the event will see the world’s top eight players collide across two days of action at the Morningside Arena in Leicester, which hosts the tournament for the first time.

The eight players are split into two groups of four for the round-robin phase, before the top two from each group progress to compete in the semi-finals and final which takes place on Sunday October 20.

Reigning champion Anderson will feature alongside world No 1 Michael van Gerwen in Group A, with ‘The Green Machine’ bidding to lift this title for the first time in his career.

World Championship finalist Smith and nine-time major winner James Wade make up the group, with Anderson’s clash against former protege Smith one of the four opening matches on Saturday afternoon.

Michael van Gerwen has failed to lift this title in his previous three attempts Michael van Gerwen has failed to lift this title in his previous three attempts Michael van Gerwen has failed to lift this title in his previous three attempts

Van Gerwen will meet Wade in another high-profile clash in a repeat of this year’s Masters final in Milton Keynes, which the Dutchman won in emphatic fashion.

The tournament’s opening fixture in Group B sees former World Grand Prix winner Daryl Gurney take on 2018 Champions League finalist Peter Wright.

World Matchplay champion Rob Cross then locks horns with 2018 Grand Slam champion Gerwyn Price in the second Group B tie, in a repeat of last weekend’s International Darts Open final – which Price won.

Saturday night’s second group games see the winning players from the afternoon session go head to head, with the losing players battling to stay in the event.

The group stage then concludes with the remaining fixtures on Sunday afternoon, before the tournament comes to a close with the semi-finals and final in a bumper evening session.

Phil Taylor and Mensur Suljovic won the title in the tournament’s opening two years before Anderson’s success 12 months ago, therefore the Scot is the only former winner in this year’s field.

2019 Champions League of DartsSchedule of PlaySaturday October 19Afternoon Session (1230 BST Start)4x Group MatchesDaryl Gurney v Peter Wright (Group B)Rob Cross v Gerwyn Price (Group B)Michael Smith v Gary Anderson (Group A)Michael van Gerwen v James Wade (Group A)

Evening Session (1830 BST Start)4x Group MatchesAfternoon session’s winning players face each other, and losing players face each other.

Sunday October 20Afternoon Session (1230 BST Start)4x Group MatchesRemaining group matches.