AFL Statement

Statement from AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan:

The Commission met today and had a really positive discussion on the business case for Tasmania.

This was followed by a wide-ranging discussion – a productive discussion – with the 18 club presidents and CEOs afterwards.

There is a collective view that if a 19th license is to be awarded to Tasmania it must be done in a way that gives the club the best chance to be successful and a significant contributor to the competition and Tasmania more broadly.

The Commission was not asked to make a decision today and will not until the clubs have had an opportunity to go through the detail and come back with their views.

The Commission was supportive of the direction of the work we have undertaken and we wouldn't be here if the Commission didn't endorse the position we have.

We also know that football fans overwhelmingly support a team for Tasmania. It's also acknowledged the broader benefits for the state of Tasmania.

We have committed to providing the boards of our 18 clubs with the opportunity to discuss the business case.

We believe that we have resolved and finalised 10 of the 11 workstreams and the final piece is resolving the stadium.

While those discussions are ongoing with the Tasmanian Government we are confident that we can continue to resolve that issue to the satisfaction of all parties.

We and the Tasmanian Government agree that a new stadium is important to the success of a new club and the Tasmanian economy - and we agree that we will solve that together at the right time.

The Federal Government has made no commitment at this stage, and we haven’t asked them to make a commitment.

We have briefed the Federal Government on the process and where we are at in looking at the business case for a 19th team, but we have made no approach to them for funding and will not seek any support until we work through all the ongoing requirements around the stadium design and feasibility.

When we are at the point where there is more clarity around the stadium, we will have those conversations with the Federal Government but – as I said earlier – we have agreed to work together with the Tasmanian Government and together we will solve the stadium issue.

Our job is to work with the Tasmanian Government to put a case to the Federal Government of the merits of this project when we have worked through all the detail.

As far as this process goes, there will be ongoing dialogue between the clubs, the AFL and the Tasmanian Government and we hope to reach a final decision once those discussions are had.

While there is an extensive business case, the key message to the presidents today is that after working through the 11 mainstreams over the past year, we believe there is considerable financial, economic and emotional support for a Tasmanian team.

There is still work to be done and feedback from the clubs is important.

But as the Tasmanian Premier said in his letter to presidents late last week, the State has committed considerable funding to both a roofed stadium solution and also to ensuring a 19th licence would be strong and sustainable.

One of the points we made to the presidents was that over the years we have succeeded as a code because we were prepared to take bold but calculated decisions – generational decisions – to build our code.

We also welcome the discussions with the Tasmanian Government over support for a roofed stadium as part of their transformation of Macquarie Point into a sports and entertainment precinct that will change the city – and the State - and allow them to not only have AFL games but major sporting events and major music and entertainment events.

As the Premier said yesterday, a stadium that allows for events throughout the year and supports more than 4000 jobs in the construction and almost 1000 jobs every year.

As I say, we will gather the views of the clubs once they have had the chance to talk to their boards but we think – directionally – that this is a positive step for Tasmania and for football.