Tasmania’s bid for an AFL team will receive a significant boost on Thursday, with the league expected to announce a major cash splash plan to help the state’s push for the 19th licence.
But the AFL’s funding promise will still hinge on whether the contentious new $750 million stadium at Macquarie Point receives approval.
The Mercury on Thursday morning reported that AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan would speak at the Dialogue Tourism + Business Luncheon in Hobart, where he’s expected to announce a $360 million AFL contribution towards a fledgling Tasmanian team.
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The AFL would fund some of the prospective Macquarie Point-based stadium – which has emerged as the major sticking point in the state’s bid for an AFL team – while $90 million would be put towards game development/community football and $30 million to talent development.
But the Tasmanian-based News Corp publication also reported McLachlan was expected to stress the league’s funding would be contingent on whether the federal government would put in $240 million into the stadium, which would have a roof.
McLachlan and the AFL initially had hopes of making a call on a Tassie team before last year’s finals series. But debate over which parties fund the new stadium has continued, while the Apple Isle’s bid for the 19th licence has yet to receive unanimous backing from all current 18 AFL clubs.
McLachlan and Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff last November announced they‘d reached an in-principle deal on commercial terms of the state’s bid 19th licence bid, but federal funding to build a new stadium in Hobart remained the sticking point.
It comes after key Tasmanian political figures this week issued a blunt memo to McLachlan where they urged him to “do the right thing by Tasmania” and grant the state a team without forcing taxpayers to cover the cost of the stadium.
“Hey Gillon, here’s an idea: give Tasmania the team without making us build a stadium,” read the statement, which was signed by 10 Tasmanian federal MPs and senators from the Liberals, Greens and independents.
“Tasmania is one of the founding football states and has a long history of making rich contributions to the national game.
“That is why we deserve a team of our own without having to make taxpayers pay for a stadium – something no other state has had to do to get a team.
“We are putting politics aside to make this plea: give Tasmania a licence, let us have our dream.”
Originally published as Huge AFL cash splash to give Tassie team bid a big boost
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