Tasmania ready but told to wait
Friday, December 12 2008 @ 02:56 pm ACDT
Contributed by: Brett Northey
As expected the AFL has told the Tasmanian AFL bid team that their proposal is very good but they will have to wait as the Gold Coast and West Sydney are next.
The bid team travelled to AFL House, led by Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett. Under the theme Ready When You Are, the presentation showed that the Launceston Aurora stadium, with a capacity of 21,000, would provide a similar deal to Geelong's successful arrangement with the 25,000 capacity Skilled Stadium (Kardinia Park). Combined with corporate support such as a 3-year $4 million deal with confectionary maker Mars and a fervent supporter base, the Tasmanians are believed to have demonstrated they are ready as soon as the AFL gives them the nod.
After viewing the bid, AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou said, "They ticked the boxes in terms of stadium revenue and the corporate support you need to support a football club". Although emphasising the Gold Coast and West Sydney were next, Demetriou said "That’s not to say an opportunity won’t arise because you just never know what may happen". Further hope was given by his statement, "That doesn’t at all mean there won’t be serious consideration given to the Tasmanian Government presentation because it’s a first-class presentation" and Demetriou promised it would be discussed further by the AFL Commission.
Premier Bartlett conceded a short term breakthrough was unlikely, but said, "We're mapping out a pathway so when opportunities arise in the AFL in the future, the AFL Commission will understand Tasmania is ready, willing and able to provide a market for an AFL franchise".
Although Tasmania look unlikely to get a license soon their very public campaign appears to have generated a groundswell of public and corporate support, and has put them in an excellent position should a license become available in the next few years, be it through a change of plans on West Sydney, a club collapsing or a merger taking place. So in that respect Tassie do seem closer than ever to getting their own AFL side - but not quite yet.