The AFL has been accused of attempting a “cold hard cash grab” after asking the Tasmanian government for $20 million-a-year to start up a 19th team in the Apple Isle.
Despite a major push from the Tasmanian government for the state to have its own AFL team, there has been little movement towards it becoming a reality so far in 2022.
According to The Age’s Caroline Wilson, establishing a team in Tasmania has slid down outgoing AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan’s list of priorities.
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“I fear that Gillon McLachlan is losing the hunger, losing the appetite for Tasmania,” she told Nine’s Footy Classified.
“He still has not met Jeremy Rockliff, the Tasmanian premier, since he became premier, and nor has (AFL chairman) Richard Goyder.
“This is a first-order priority and he has not seen that as a priority, and neither has Richard Goyder. The taskforce met in head office last Friday, no sign of Gillon McLachlan in that meeting.”
Wilson believes the AFL is asking the Tasmanian government for overs in order to appease club presidents who “are turning on Tasmania”.
“Colin Carter in his report said $7-11 million should be the government subsidy. The AFL have asked the Tasmanian government for $20 million a year,” she said.
“The taskforce has put together a 10-year offer with a lot extra in the first year and around the top end of Colin Carter’s numbers, the AFL is not interested.
“I fear this is a cash grab to get the presidents over the line with the AFL knowing it’s an ambit claim and won’t happen.
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“If this doesn’t happen, that’s it, that’s the end of Tasmania getting a team. That is the end of footy in Tasmania. It is that dramatic. Less players appearing, less grounds, the appetite will go. It’s an impending sporting tragedy in my view, and a social tragedy.”
However, former Collingwood president Eddie McGuire defended the AFL boss, saying the league’s biggest priority was getting its next broadcast deal sorted.
“He’s got one job to do – that’s to close a deal on the TV rights because that pays for everything,” McGuire told Footy Classified.
“I spoke to Gil tonight, he is flat out. He’s got his tongue hanging out, he’s working that hard at the moment. I’d tell you if I didn’t think he was. If I thought he’d checked out, I’d say it.”
According to McGuire, the $20 million a year is exactly what would be needed to establish a strong team in Tasmania.
“I think the numbers from Colin Carter’s report were under,” he said.
“I think that every time the AFL have pitched an expansion team they have been miles under in selling it to the presidents, and the presidents aren’t going to cop it.
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“They are the figures – not if you want to, if you’re hoping – they are the figures that will give you a chance of having a successful team in Tasmania, not another team that is getting beaten for the next 10 years. has to be forever.
“I’ll tell you what people are sick of in the AFL, all the clubs are sick of funding everybody else at the moment. Everyone’s got to start paying their way in the AFL.”
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