AN INDEPENDENT report has found there is a strong case for a Tasmanian AFL/AFLW team but says relocating an existing team or setting up a "joint venture" with a Victorian club would be more sustainable than adding a 19th franchise.
Former Geelong president Colin Carter released his findings on Friday which found a strong presence was needed in Tasmania and "the right thing to do," but AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said the best form of that team was less clear-cut.
The report outlined three options: a stand-alone team, a relocated team or a "joint venture" which would involve a team splitting games between Tasmania and Melbourne.
The latter suggestion was rejected outright by Tasmanian premier Peter Gutwein, who demanded an answer on the state's demand for a team by year's end or the state would forgo AFL football in 2022.
"Our preference very clearly is for a licence for a 19th stand-alone Tasmanian team," he said.
"(The) third option, the proposal of a joint-venture arrangement, we do not support.
"We want to run and operate our own team. We don't want to rent one."
Gutwein was prepared to consider the benefits of a relocated team.
Earlier on Friday, McLachlan said the relocation of an existing team or a joint venture would "arguably produce a more sustainable outcome and therefore should be considered before a 19th licence".
Carter's report had found a Tasmanian team would rank in the lower-middle section of the AFL's "wealth ladder" while a relocated Victorian team would sit in the middle ranking and be in a "formidable" position due to having support in both Melbourne and the Apple Isle.
There is no set timeframe for a decision on any of the three options or for existing clubs to make big calls on their futures amid the enhanced financial stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, with McLachlan categorically ruling out relocating Gold Coast.
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Gutwein accused the AFL of attempting to "kick the can down the road" and suggested the League was "so paralysed by COVID" it wasn't looking at long-term pathways for Tasmania.
The Tasmanian Government previously put talks to extend deals with Hawthorn and North Melbourne, whose contracts to play four games in the state finish at the end of this season, on hold.
Gutwein said he would not finalise those contracts and therefore Tasmania would not host AFL games next season, if a decision wasn't made by year's end.
"If the AFL doesn't meet that timeline and if we can't get to decisions by the end of the year, we will not accept any more excuses," he said.
"And if that means AFL content is not in Tasmania next year, then be it on the AFL's head."
Gutwein said he would speak to McLachlan on Friday afternoon.