Tasmanian premier Jeremy Rockliff has announced the state government has reached “an in principal agreement on the key commercial terms to bring a Tasmanian team into the AFL.”
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan told a crowd at Hobart’s investment leaders conference that a Hobart stadium remains the key domino left to fall for the state to secure a licence.
Still, Rockliff said Tasmania “will get our stand-alone team and finally take our rightful place in the national league”, despite the fact “some more work still needs to be done”.
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The proposed $750 million Macquarie Point stadium will at this stage be half-funded by the Tasmanian government, leaving the federal government, the private sector and the AFL to source the other $375 million.
While initially facing fierce opposition from some club presidents, Tasmania’s bid for the 19th AFL licence has continued to progress since initially being pitched in September.
One president told the Mercury all presidents were now on board pending the stadium.
“All of the presidents are now satisfied that Tasmania can hold its own in terms of financing the team, which was the main concern for a lot of clubs,” the president said.
“The feeling now is something of disbelief that anyone would be against having a new stadium for a new team and the government building something that would be an incredible boost for the entire state.”
McLachlan flew into Tasmania late on Thursday for a speaking engagement and an informal meeting with Rockliff.
“We’re going to be talking about where we are at, a bit of an update and a chance to talk about the progress that has been made,” McLachlan told WIN news.
“We’re not there, but we’ve come a long way.
“We’re trying to land the whole package together and the stadium is an important piece.
“We’ve got lots to do working with clubs and the state government and other parties around the venue, and all the other parts, and hopefully it all comes together as one.”