Tasmania want Hawks relocation - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tasmania want Hawks relocation

By Roger Vaughan 06/08/2010 07:43:15 PM Comments (0)

Tasmania will consider a 20-year AFL deal with Hawthorn - but only if the Hawks relocate to the island.

Premier David Bartlett and Hawks president Jeff Kennett have engaged in some public sabre-rattling ahead of re-negotiating the club's successful deal to play home games at Aurora Stadium in Launceston.

The contract seems set to continue, especially given the AFL will play extra games when the league expands to 18 teams over the next two years.

Hawthorn and the Tasmanian government are due to sit down early next week, but publicly at least their relationship has become testy.

On Wednesday, Bartlett questioned Hawthorn's long-term commitment to Tasmania and this prompted Kennett to say the Hawks were prepared to commit to a Launceston deal for 20 years.

"Any 20-year deal with Hawthorn or any other football club would necessarily include full relocation," Bartlett said on Friday.

"I'm not sure what the Hawthorn president or the Melbourne-based fans of Hawthorn think about that, but I'm open to discussions about a full relocation of Hawthorn if there is a 20-year deal on the table."

The premier met with AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou in Melbourne on Friday to gauge the league's support for extra games in Tasmania.

North Melbourne and Richmond have also expressed interest in playing home games at Bellerive Oval in Hobart, but the government's first objective is a new deal with Hawthorn.

"We want to see more football played in Tasmania, Aurora Stadium remains the home of football in Tasmania in the north," the premier said.

"But we are not opposed to seeing a few games played in the south as well.

"We didn't explicitly discuss the south option, but I have said very clearly to Andrew we're not opposed to that."

Later on Friday, Bartlett confirmed he had also met with North chairman James Brayshaw during his Melbourne trip.

"Mr Brayshaw repeated his club's interest in playing games in Tasmania and I thanked him for taking an interest in Tasmanian football," the premier said.

"As I've also consistently said, the government is not opposed to the AFL scheduling games at Bellerive Oval, but it will not be funding those games."

Hawthorn currently play four home games and one pre-season match every year at Aurora Stadium and this deal involves state government funding.

Bartlett said he took "great comfort" from Friday's discussions with the league.

"They have clearly indicated a willingness to discuss and negotiate on extra games coming to Tasmania and that informs our negotiations with Hawthorn significantly," he said.

Demetriou is encouraged by the level of interest but said there were several obstacles before Hobart would host matches.

"The government has put its hand up for additional games, Hawthorn have indicated maybe they might play an extra game in Launceston - I think it's all positive," he said.

"(Hobart) is not our decision - ultimately if Bellerive is a suitable venue for AFL football and the government is not opposed to it and we can find a club who can come up with an arrangement with the Tasmanian Cricket Association, then we wouldn't stand in the way, we would support it."

Demetriou said "two or three" clubs had expressed interest in Hobart, with the Western Bulldogs understood to be the other team.

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