AFL COO has no plans to include Tassie - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL COO has no plans to include Tassie

By Melissa Woods 27/03/2009 04:44:01 PM Comments (0)

AFL chief operating officer Gillon McLachlan has told a Senate inquiry there are no plans to include a Tasmanian team in the competition.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou's second-in-command was one of six speakers to address the inquiry into Tasmania's bid for an AFL team, held in Melbourne on Friday.

Tasmanian Labor Senator Kerry O'Brien has asked the regional affairs committee to investigate whether it's fair for the AFL to prioritise clubs from the Gold Coast and western Sydney ahead of a Tasmanian team.

It will also examine Tasmania's capacity to sustain a team in the AFL.

The AFL plans to expand its current 16-team competition to include clubs from the Gold Coast in 2011 and Western Sydney in 2012.

McLachlan told the inquiry that those two teams were the AFL's "priority" markets, above Tasmania as they best fitted the AFL's goals of growing the game and increasing participation.

He said information such as future population growth, size and scope of the local business community, current and future, community participation in the game and other code and the significance of the regions as media markets, determined that priority.

"We never said we didn't want a team in Tasmania, but it's not a priority," McLachlan told the senators.

He was asked by O'Brien about the "pathway" a Tasmanian team could take to enter the competition.

O'Brien questioned whether the island state must wait for the collapse, merger or relocation of a Victorian team, or for one of the new teams to fail.

"I don't have an answer for you ... all I can talk to you about is that the 17th and 18th teams will go to the Gold Coast and western Sydney which are our two priority markets," he said.

"When and how (a Tasmanian team can enter competition) that comes about I don't think anyone knows, but all we can do is continue to have dialogue and play our part in growing football in that state."

Liberal senator Julian McGauran asked if the reluctance of some Victorian clubs to relocate or merge had hindered Tasmania's bid, as they required extra financial assistance from the AFL that could have been directed to a new team.

"Victoria's the heartland of our game," McLachlan said.

"I don't see a correlation between the Victorian clubs and Tasmania."

Broadcaster Tim Lane and Geelong president Brian Cook, who gave advice to the Tasmanian bid, also appeared.

The inquiry is due to report by the end of June next year.

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