Tassie ready to pounce with AFL option - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tassie ready to pounce with AFL option

By Guy Hand 12/12/2008 07:30:55 PM Comments (0)

Struggling AFL clubs and would-be franchises in western Sydney and the Gold Coast have been put on notice that Tasmania is ready to join the league should they fall over.

With a bid described as "first-class" by AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou, Tasmania officially joined the expansion game after Premier David Bartlett presented a bid to the league in Melbourne on Friday.

While Demetriou re-iterated the AFL's preferred points for expansion in the short-term were the Gold Coast and western Sydney, he said the Tasmanian bid was comprehensive and ticked all the boxes.

It now effectively makes Tasmania a fallback option at least should catastrophe strike the AFL's commitment to extra teams in Queensland and NSW, or should the league lose a struggling Melbourne-based club.

"The amount of work and research is comprehensive and first-class. We were incredibly impressed by the level of detail in the submission," Demetriou said.

"Our priorities are the Gold Coast and western Sydney, but that doesn't rule out the possibility of Tasmania at some point in the future.

"Things change, the world changes and based on the presentation we saw today what I would say is that the Tasmanian Government is more than capable and is ready if in the event that an opportunity arose.

"That's not to say an opportunity won't arise because you just never know what may happen."

Bartlett said Tasmania already had 60 per cent of corporate sponsorship required for an AFL club, would easily meet the required target of 25,000 members and projected stadium revenues would put them in the top four performing stadia in the league.

"The commitment Andrew's given me today is he'll take the business case we've provided very seriously," Bartlett 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.

"What we've said to the AFL is we're ready when you are."

Premiers Hawthorn already offer a part-time Tasmanian presence, playing four games a season there on a lucrative multi-million dollar deal with the state government until 2011.

But Tasmania believes it is entitled to a fulltime team based there, citing the fact it is an Australian rules stronghold that can support its own club.

The AFL has already committed to a Gold Coast team joining the competition in 2011, with a western Sydney team slated for 2012.

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