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Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein (Nov_2020)

Tasmanian Premier “Disappointed” Over AFL’s Response

T
asmanian premier, Peter Gutwein, has said he is “disappointed” with the AFL’s response to a report, which argues relocating an existing team or setting up a joint venture with a Victorian club would be more sustainable than adding a 19th franchise.

This morning, the AFL released a summary of the Colin Carter Report, which summarises a review into the submission of a Tasmanian AFL team.

While the review agreed Tasmania should have a representative AFL/AFLW team, it said the best form of this “is less clear cut.”  

The report suggested: “The case can be made for a 19th license, but re-location of an existing team if a club is prepared to take that path, or a joint venture between Tasmanian stakeholders and a Victorian team that secures strong support in two markets from the outset, would arguably produce a more sustainable outcome and therefore should be considered before a 19th license.” 

Gutwein replied frustrated the AFL could not provide a concrete timeline, threatening to suspend existing contracts with Hawthorn and North Melbourne to play games in Tasmania. 

Gutwein said: “That immediate response from them I don’t think is good enough.” 

“I’m very disappointed with the AFL this morning. 

“This is unacceptable, I’ve been clear from the outset we need a timeline.

“We will not finalise those contracts, we will not roll them over with Hawthorn and North Melbourne until we have a starting point from the AFL … in regards to a new Tasmanian AFL team.

“Once again they’ve attempted to kick the can down the road,” he said. 

The Tasmanian premier agreed the state’s strong AFL history and passion for the sport means it deserves a representative team, however, says relocating an existing team or a joint venture is not an option. 

The Colin Carter Report justified a 19th team would be positioned in the middle of the bottom third of the industry’s wealth ladder.

However a combined Tasmanian and Victorian support base would position the new club in the middle of the AFL club’s wealth ranks.

Gutwein said: “We don’t want to rent our own team, we want our own team.”

“Our preference very clearly is for the license for a standalone Tasmanian team … so as far as the state’s concerned [a joint venture] is not an option.

“I’m annoyed.

“This is 30 years of frustration … from a community … once again it appears to have been treated with disrespect in my view,” he said. 

Although Gutwein has pressed the AFL for a decision, the report indicated this was not possible due to the current state of the AFL, where finances are under stress.

The report read: “This pandemic has contributed to a collective loss of revenue of more than $700 million and is currently costing up to $6 million a week to keep the competition going.” 

The AFL said they will work closely with the Tasmanian Government to see what a potential model might look like.