AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has finally announced the recommendations of his committee for football’s future in Tasmania; it was a lengthy process with delays but it’s finally done.
The state of Football in Tasmania isn’t as good as many would hope it is. Following the withdrawal of Devonport and Burnie from the Tasmanian State League (TSL), the committee has been working over the past three months to figure out what needs to be done.
Last week, most of the clubs in the TSL accepted an in-principle agreement to keep Tasmania’s flagship competition running until at least 2023. It was also reported the state would work on returning to the VFL by 2021.
The committee has been criticised due to how long they’ve taken but McLachlan announced the following recommendations “to rebuild and unify Tasmanian football over the next three years” in Hobart on Tuesday morning:
- The AFL will invest an extra $1.4 million in Tasmania in 2019
- Create three regional administration hubs to help run community football
- Generate affiliation with community leagues
- The TSL will remain the state’s top-tier competition and continue to receive AFL funding
- Extend Tasmania’s junior pathways from under-12s to under-18s with more opportunities to play in intrastate tournaments. Junior levies will also be removed.
- A full-time under-18s Mariners program with Tasmania to compete in the TAC Cup 2019
- Tasmania has been granted a provisional licence to re-enter the VFL in 2021
- There will be greater investment in the talent pathway for women with a girls’ side to take part in TAC Cup in 2020
- A Tasmanian advisory board, made up of Tasmanians, will be set up to oversee changes in the next three years
- All programs to be re-branded under a name to be decided by the Tasmanian people
McLachlan said the success of these plans would help determine how long it may take for a possible Tasmanian team to enter the league.
“The passion for Tasmanian footy needs to be harnessed. The time is now to unite,” McLachlan told the media when handing down the recommendations.
“In order for footy to grow in one of our founding footy states, we need the help from the Tasmania football community to help create the solutions.
“This needs to be a team effort.”
The committee – comprising of McLachlan, AFL Tasmania boss Trisha Squires, Carlton coach Brendon Bolton, former St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt, AFL game development head Rob Auld and AFL state league manager Simon Laughton – spoke with Tasmanian football stakeholders throughout the process.