Tasmania finally finds a place in the AFL sun


Tasmania 19th team at AFL Image: AFL

On behalf of the Australian Football League (AFL) Commission, the AFL announced that the 19th licence has been awarded to Tasmania (island State of Australia).

‘AFL’ stated that in a meeting of the AFL Commission held recently where all Commissioners were present the AFL Commission resolved to award a licence based on conditions to a Tasmanian club – a decision that will finally make AFL competitions truly national.

Melbourne (Australia)-based the Australian Football League (AFL) is the pre-eminent and only fully professional competition of Australian Rules football. It was originally named the Victorian Football League and was founded in 1896 as a breakaway competition from the Victorian Football Association, with its inaugural season held in 1897.

Melbourne Docklands (Australia)-based the AFL Commission is the governing body of the Australian Football League Limited, its subsidiaries and controlled entities. Richard Goyder has been Chairman since April 4th, 2017, replacing Mike Fitzpatrick. It was formed in 1985 as the VFL Commission, and gained its current name in 1990.

‘AFL’ further stated that the AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan made the announcement in Hobart after receiving the support and endorsement of the Presidents and Chairs of all 18 AFL clubs and unanimous support of all members of the AFL Commission – awarding the 19th licence to play in the AFL and AFL Women’s (AFLW) competitions to Tasmania.

AFL Women’s is Australia’s national semi-professional Australian Rules football league for female players. The first season of the league in February and March 2017 had eight teams. The league expanded to 10 teams in the 2019 season, 14 teams in 2020 and 18 teams in 2022.

The AFL signed binding commitments with the Tasmanian Government that committed to delivering on those conditions, including partnering with the Federal Government for the construction of a 23,000-seat roofed stadium at Macquarie Point (parking lot in Hobart, Australia).

The AFL men’s team is expected to enter the competition in the 2028 Toyota Premiership Season, with a proposed timeline for a women’s team entry into the National Australia Bank Limited (NAB) AFLW Competition to be worked through shortly.

Maintained McLachlan, “There are big days and there are really big days. For our national game of Australian Rules football and for the State of Tasmania this feels really big. Historic. Big for football, big for Tasmanians, big for all AFL supporters. It is an important and historic day, for football in Tasmania, for football in Australia, for footy supporters all around the country. We are here to ensure a foundation football State, filled with believers, supporters and gravel rash grit, get the opportunity to unite their State and unite behind a single cause.”

McLachlan added that Tasmania being awarded the 19th AFL licence is also the culmination of a lot of work by so many people – “I want to firstly thank the Premier of Tasmania, Jeremy Rockliff, and his Government for their vision, their dogged commitment and their investment, both financially and emotionally in football. Thank you Premier. It is also important to acknowledge the former Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein who refused to take ‘No’ for an answer – a baton he clearly passed on to Premier Rockliff. To the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Richard Marles, and to the Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese, for your support of a project that not only creates the opportunity for a new football club but also the opportunity to bring to life a vision for an urban renewal project that will not only change a sport but change a City, and change a State.”

McLachlan further added, “Thank you Premier Rockliff and Prime Minister Albanese for having the conviction and the determination to make this happen and also for the confidence that our sport can and will deliver on our promises to drive economic activity, tourism and pride. To the members of the Tasmanian Taskforce who took passion aplenty and mixed it with the support of 90,000 football-loving Tasmanians, a clinical business case and a refusal to let this moment in time pass. And to my own team, led by Executives Travis Auld and Sam Graham who had set 11 workstreams that needed to be approved before the 19th licence could be issued and who have worked assiduously to get the job done. And to the 18 AFL clubs and the AFL Commission who have walked every step of this journey and ensured that the outcome is one that is not only good for Tasmania but good for our national game and every one of our supporters.”

Remarked Rockliff, “This is a proud and groundbreaking moment in our history – put simply, Tasmania will never be the same again. After more than a century, the AFL will finally be complete and recognized as a truly national competition. We have fought hard to deliver this and I couldn’t be prouder to deliver our own team, which will take the field in our own colors, and sing our own song. For everyone who has backed us and Believed – thank you for sticking with us, as we’ve brought this home. Tasmania’s time has come.”

With the establishment of the 19th licence the AFL and Tasmanian Government will now work to establish a Club Nominations Committee and will select a Club Chair and Board of Directors.

Details of the club’s Training and Administration base will also be worked through in the coming months.

AFL Tasmania will launch its Futures Report including the future structure of State and Community football.

Later in the year, a community campaign will be launched to select the brand of the new club including Name, Logo, Guernsey, and song.

Concluded McLachlan, “It’s been a journey, but I am so happy to say we have reached the summit. A 19th club in Tasmania. For Tasmania. Uniting Tasmania.”

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