LANCE Franklin has officially joined the Sydney Swans after Hawthorn decided against matching the offer made to the restricted free agent.
The club released a short statement on its club website to thank Franklin for his nine year career and wish him all the best.
Franklin shocked the football world when he announced last Tuesday he had decided to accept the Sydney Swans offer of $10 million for nine years.
Hawthorn took just hours to announce it would not match the offer. The Hawks had paid tribute to the departing (and absent) Franklin at its best and fairest on Saturday night.
The deal means Franklin, 26, is contracted with the Sydney Swans until the end of 2022, at which point he will be 35 years old.
Hawthorn released an open letter to fans from CEO Stuart Fox explaining its decision not to match the offer and the strategy it took in relation to Franklin's contract in 2013.
"Our primary objective was to minimise distractions for the club, players and coaching staff as we worked towards achieving our eleventh premiership," Fox said on hawthornfc.com.au
"When the club's revised offer to Lance expired on July 31 we made it clear to Lance and his manager that we would begin list management planning for 2014 and beyond, assuming Lance may not be part of those plans and preparing for any eventuality.
"We have always been guided by an established list management strategy that puts theneeds and interests of the club first.
"Today we applied that approach as the club decided against matching an offer from Sydney Swans to restricted free agent Lance Franklin."
Fox said Franklin would always be welcome back at Hawthorn to celebrate the premierships he was involved in and the club now saw his departure as an opportunity.
Sydney Swans coach John Longmire said he was pleased to welcome Franklin to the club.
"Lance is a champion player and we are really excited that he wants to continue his outstanding career at the Swans," he said.
"We understand that nine-year contracts are rare in AFL football, but so too are players the quality of Lance Franklin.
"As a club we will always seek to improve our playing list and we are confident Lance will be a great fit." Longmire said.
Franklin played 182 games and two premierships with the Hawks. He was four times an All Australian.
He won the 2008 best and fairest when he kicked 100 goals in the season, won the Coleman Medal and played in the premiership.
Franklin won the Coleman Medal twice and led the Hawks' goalkicking from 2007-2012. He also won the goal of the year in 2010 and 2013.
However he said the Swans were aware of the decision's ramifications and it was a decision from a club that had proved itself capable of making good calls on list management.
Hawthorn will now wait to see what compensation it receives for losing Franklin through free agency.