The 19th team: Tasmania's AFL licence all but formalised following stadium funding announcement
The announcement of a multi-million dollar project has all but sealed the deal for Tassie to enter the competition.
After many years of speculation, on Saturday, the Prime Minister announced $240 million towards a redevelopment of the Macquarie Point precinct in Hobart as part of an "urban redevelopment project," with a 23,000-seat stadium at the centre of it. The amount of money that the commonwealth contributed to the $715 million project has caused an uproar across the country, including in Tasmania.
"This is about bringing life and economic activity to this site," Albanese said.
Many believe it could be spent elsewhere. The Prime Minister faced critics on Saturday during his press conference. One person yelled that the PM "need(s) to talk about housing," before Albanese quickly closed down the exchange, telling the woman that "you have already had your say."
The funding comes just days out from the Federal Budget. The Tasmanian Government has pledged the bulk of the funding towards Macquarie Point with $375 million.
Attention now turns to the AFL. It is now all but certain that Tasmania will get a licence for a new team to enter the competition.
"It's not the Australian Football League if it leaves off the south island," the Prime Minister said.
Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff said it would fulfil "that decades-old dream of having our own team, signing our own song, and wearing out own colours."
The league on Friday night reportedly met with all club presidents, confirming all the final details and addressing the concerns of clubs about a Tasmanian team. The next step for Gill and the AFL is seeking the approval of all 18 teams before the AFL commission meets to finalise the decision. From there a licence will be issued.
In a statement from Gillon McLachlan he said "For a club to compete and succeed on the national stage, it needs a home that enables and empowers it to compete from the start, on and off the field.” Adding “On behalf of the AFL, I thank Prime Minister Albanese and the Federal Government for realising the vision for the Mac Point precinct and all the economic activity the urban redevelopment will bring to the state.”
With the total amount of teams to be totalled to 19, it will likely mean that a team will have a bye every round. However, there are reportedly discussions in the AFL that a 20th team could also emerge, possibly in Western Australia.
But what is all but certain, is Tasmania will finally have an AFL team they can call their own, Gillon McLachlan and the AFL Commission to deliberate over the next few days, before he travels to Hobart this week, with an announcement to be made as early as Tuesday.
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