How the AFL was “blindsided” by Tassie government statement as 19th license momentum wanes

How the AFL was “blindsided” by Tassie government statement as 19th license momentum wanes

The AFL was reportedly “blindsided” by comments made by Tasmanian premier Jeremy Rockliff over the weekend, as the bid for a 19th team appears to be losing momentum.

The jostling over a stadium for the team remains the sticking point, with Rockliff saying his government would only pay for half of the reported $750 million to build the venue.

“No expansion club has ever come near replicating an offer like this,” Rockliff said in a statement.

“While there is value because Tasmania will derive a significant return, the government will withdraw its offer if the AFL doesn’t respect the magnitude of this offer.”

AFL journalist Sam McClure believes the league was caught off guard by the statement.

“I think the momentum has been thwarted by the change in government, Peter Gutwein going to Jeremy Rockliff, and it feels like we’re a little away from that momentum re-emerging,” McClure told sportsday.

“I found the events from the weekend quite troubling.

“The people I spoke to (at the AFL) were blindsided by that statement.”

McClure ran through the situation as it currently sits, with a decision likely coming at the end of August.

“The AFL came out a few weeks ago and said, ‘The stadium is on you and you’re not getting a team without a stadium. Go away, give us a plan, we’ll talk about it’,” he said.

“The new Tasmanian premier came out on Saturday with a very strong statement and said, ‘We’re only going to fund half the stadium. You guys came to us and said we needed to provide you a stadium plan. Just letting you know, when we get the plan to you, which we haven’t actually given you yet, we’re only going to pay for half’.

“Now the AFL, as I understand it, don’t fund stadia. Governments fund stadia.

“So if the state government is only paying half, who’s paying the other $300 million? Are the (federal government) stumping that up? I wouldn’t have thought so.

“No one in their right mind is saying that Tasmania does not deserve a team now, but what we have here is a business proposition and as far as I can see that proposition is on its knees right now, and that concerns me.

“We haven’t got a stadium plan, and when we do have the plan, we don’t know who’s paying for half of it.”

Could a call on Tasmania be delayed for a year and reassessed in 2023?

“They could do that, but it would be a devastating blow for the people of Tasmania,” McClure added.

“Gillon McLachlan said a decision on Tasmania was going to be put to the clubs by the end of August and that the clubs are ultimately going to decide.”





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