McLachlan’s stadium ultimatum on Tasmanian AFL team
A new state-of-the-art stadium in Hobart is essential for Tasmania’s bid for a standalone team in the AFL to be successful, according to AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan.
McLachlan made that clear after meeting Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff in Hobart on Thursday, as the vote on a new licence in August draws nearer.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan.Credit:Chris Hopkins
McLachlan said a new stadium could transform the state, citing the impact that the Adelaide Oval and Optus Stadium in Perth had had on their states’ respective capital cities.
“This team needs and will have a new stadium if [they] want a licence,” McLachlan told reporters in Hobart on Thursday.
As several club presidents cast doubt on the bid, the AFL and the Tasmanian taskforce have two months to deliver a proposal that receives the support of the AFL Commission and club presidents.
Although under the AFL constitution club presidents can only veto a decision by the commission to admit a new team if a two-thirds majority vote against the recommendation, McLachlan has made it clear he wants 18 clubs to back the bid with their support contingent on the proposal.
Many clubs are holding their position until they see the details, with further discussion expected once that is made available to clubs before the August decision.
“It will be the deal. If the deal is right for football they will support it. If it is not, they won’t,” McLachlan said.
Sydney president Andrew Pridham said on Saturday that the projections made before Gold Coast and the Giants entered the competition had proven to be a fair way off the reality of starting up a new club in a non-traditional state. He said relocation should remain as an option.
The bid team has admitted that original costings of a proposed new stadium on the Hobart waterfront were loose, but it has become clear it needs to develop a road map for its development before the commission and club presidents will sign off on a licence for a new club.
Former premier Peter Gutwein outlined the stadium proposal to Parliament in March, determining that it would cost $750 million. However, the ABC revealed last week that figure was a “ballpark” figure provided by a consultant, rather than a firm cost.
Optus Stadium, which has been in operation since 2018, has a capacity of 60,000 people and cost $1.6 billion to complete.
The proposal for a Hobart stadium included a stadium with a roof and a capacity of 27,000 that would take three years to build. However, the funding model is yet to be determined.
McLachlan described the Tasmanian government’s $150 million offer to underpin a new team for the first 10 years as “a good start”, with $50 million to be dedicated to a high-performance centre and $100 million to be rolled out as a contribution of $10 million per annum.
Rockliff said the offer showed the state government was “bloody serious” about getting a Tasmanian team, with both parties agreeing relocation was not being considered.
“The work being done is on a 19th licence,” McLachlan said.
The two parties worked through 11 key issues as they attempt to get a proposal suitable for the commission and AFL presidents to support in August.
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