Tasmania will finally have their own side in the AFL after chief executive Gillon McLachlan officially awarded him the league’s 19th license.
The state, which has been pushing for entry into the national competition for decades, came over the border with the recent completion of funding for a new Hobart Stadium – the AFL’s final sticking point.
Tasmania’s men’s team is scheduled to compete in the AFL competition in 2028, while the timetable for a women’s team to compete in the AFLW is being worked out but is still open.
“Today is about the AFL continuing to live our goal of advancing the game so everyone can share in their legacy and opportunity,” McLachlan said Wednesday.
Pictured left to right: Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff, Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles and AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan enter the North Hobart Oval to celebrate the landmark announcement of the league’s 19th club
While the Tassie men’s team will debut in 2028, the start date for the state’s AFLW team remains a mystery (pictured, a Tasmanian footballer leads youth players onto the oval for Wednesday’s announcement).
“All – and today we come full circle.
“Today is about acknowledging that Tasmania belongs in our AFL and AFLW competitions, belongs in the national football talk and belongs in the national game.”
The license was unanimously supported by the 18 existing club presidents on Tuesday and immediately approved by the league commission.
Hobart’s proposed new stadium and its design – particularly whether it would have a roof – had been sticking points.
McLachlan said a roof is part of the agreement signed with the state government on Wednesday morning.
“We have signed binding commitments with the Tasmanian Government, which has committed to meeting those terms, including a partnership with the federal government for a 23,000-seat indoor stadium at Macquarie Point,” McLachlan said.
Securing funding for a new stadium in Hobart (artist’s rendering, pictured) was one of the final hurdles in Apple Isle’s eventual admission to the league – and McLachlan said a roof on the new site was part of the agreement signed with the state be government
The new club’s name remains up in the air as fan-favorite Tasmanian Devils run into trouble for being trademarked by Warner Brothers
Tasmanian Prime Minister Jeremy Rockliff said the island nation “will never be the same again”.
“This is a proud and landmark moment in our history,” he said.
“After more than a century, the AFL will finally be complete and recognized as a truly national competition.
“We fought hard to achieve this and I couldn’t be prouder to deliver our own team who will take to the field in our own colors and sing our own song.
“For everyone who has supported and believed in us – thank you for staying with us while we bring this home.
“Tasmania’s time has come.”
He posted a photo on Twitter of the historic moment when the agreement with McLachlan was signed, alongside the words: “Matches will be played in the North, South and North West to ensure this is a truly Tasmanian team. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Rockliff made an embarrassing mistake when he appeared on TV to discuss the announcement, calling McLachlan “Gillion.”
History is made: The moment Rockliff and McLachlan sign off from the Apple Isle team
The 3rd of May holds a significant place in Tasmanian football history.
Devonport-born Richmond legend Matthew Richardson played his last game of the day, while Ian Stewart reached 100 games and Peter Hudson scored 16 goals in a VFL match.
The federal government announced on Saturday that it would contribute $240 million to the controversial $715 million stadium project at Macquarie Point in Hobart.
Tasmania will be the first expansion team since GWS were licensed in 2010 and joined the AFL in 2012.
Unlike the Giants and Gold Coast, the two most recent AFL signings, the Tasmanian team is born in one of the core areas of Australian rules football.
At the last AFL game in Tasmania, the Hawks faced Adelaide during the Anzac Round (pictured) – and the Prime Minister has promised the new side will play in the state’s north, south and north-west
Richardson, Stewart and Hudson are among the island nation’s most celebrated footballers and they have all had to relocate to the mainland to further their careers.
Stewart, Hudson, Darrel Baldock and Royce Hart are Tasmania’s Hall of Fame legends of Australian football.
There has already been speculation that the team’s likely name, Tasmanian Devils, would infringe a commercial copyright.
The state government will allocate $12 million annually to a team for 12 years, plus $60 million to a high-performance center.
It will spend $375 million on the new 23,000-seat indoor stadium, which opponents have called a waste of money amid a housing and health crisis.
The AFL is contributing $15 million to the stadium.
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