Tasmania will finally have their own team in the AFL after being officially awarded the league’s 19th license by chief executive Gillon McLachlan.
The state, which has pushed for decades to be included in domestic competition, crossed the line with the recent finalization of funding for a new stadium in Hobart – the AFL’s latest sticking point.
Tasmania’s men’s side are set to join AFL competition in 2028, while the timeline for a women’s side to enter the AFLW is being worked on but remains up in the air.
“Today the AFL continues to live our purpose of advancing the game so that everyone can share in its legacy and its possibilities,” McLachlan said on Wednesday.
Pictured from left to right: Tasmanian Prime Minister Jeremy Rockliff, Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles and AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan head to North Hobart Oval for the historic announcement of the league’s 19th club
While Tassie’s men’s team will debut in 2028, the start date for the state’s AFLW team remains a mystery (pictured, a Tasmanian footballer leads the junior players into the oval for Wednesday’s announcement )
“Everyone – and today we are closing the loop.
“Today is about acknowledging that Tasmania belongs in our AFL and AFLW competitions, belongs in the national football conversation and belongs in the national game.”
The license was unanimously approved by the 18 existing club presidents on Tuesday and quickly approved by the league committee.
Hobart’s proposed new stadium and its design – particularly whether it would have a roof – had been sticking points.
McLachlan said a roof was part of the deal signed with the state government on Wednesday morning.
“We have signed binding commitments with the Tasmanian Government who are committed to these terms, including a partnership with the Federal Government for a 23,000 seater indoor stadium at Macquarie Point,” McLachlan said.
Securing funding for a new stadium in Hobart (artist’s impression, photo) was one of the final hurdles to Apple Island’s inclusion in the league – and McLachlan said the fact to have a roof over the new land was part of the agreement signed with the state. government
The name of the new club remains up in the air with fans’ favorite choice, the Tasmanian Devils, having problems because it was trademarked by Warner Brothers
Tasmanian Prime Minister Jeremy Rockliff said the island state “will never be the same”.
“This is a proud and groundbreaking moment in our history,” he said.
“After more than a century, the AFL will finally be complete and recognized as a truly national competition.
“We fought hard to achieve this and I couldn’t be prouder to deliver our own team, who will take to the pitch in our own colors and sing our own song.
“To everyone who supported and believed us – thank you for sticking with us, because we brought this home.
“Tasmania’s time has come.”
He posted a picture on Twitter of the historic moment the deal was signed with McLachlan, along with the words: “Matches will be played in the North, South and North West to ensure this is of a true Tasmanian team.” I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Rockliff made an embarrassing mistake when he appeared on TV to discuss the announcement, calling McLachlan “Gillion.”
History in the Making: When Rockliff and McLachlan Joined the Apple Isle Team
May 3 holds an important place in Tasmanian football history.
Devonport-born Richmond great Matthew Richardson has played his last game to date, while Ian Stewart has reached 100 games and Peter Hudson has scored 16 goals in a VFL game.
The federal government announced on Saturday that it would contribute $240 million to the controversial $715 million stadium project at Macquarie Point in Hobart.
Tasmania will be the first expansion team since GWS was licensed in 2010 and entered the AFL in 2012.
Unlike the Giants and Gold Coast, the AFL’s two latest additions, the Tasmanian side will be born into one of the hearts of Australian rules football.
The AFL’s last game in Tasmania saw the Hawks go head-to-head with Adelaide in the Anzac Round (pictured) – and the Premier promised the new team would play in the North, South and North- west of the state.
Richardson, Stewart and Hudson are among the island state’s most famous footballers and they have all had to move to the mainland for their careers to flourish.
Stewart, Hudson, Darrel Baldock and Royce Hart are Tasmania’s Australian Rules Football Hall of Fame legends.
There is already speculation that the team’s likely name, the Tasmanian Devils, is infringing a commercial copyright.
The state government will pay $12 million a year over 12 years for a team, plus $60 million for a high performance center.
He will spend $375million on the new 23,000-seat indoor stadium, which opponents have called a waste of money amid a housing and healthcare crisis.
The AFL is contributing $15 million to the stadium.
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