Tas premier makes AFL bid funding threat

·2-min read

Tasmania's premier has thrown down the gauntlet to the AFL in the island's quest for a team, saying the state government will withdraw its funding offer if the league "doesn't respect" its magnitude.

Jeremy Rockliff also says the state government won't pay more than half the cost of a new stadium, something league boss Gillon McLachlan has indicated is required for a Tasmanian bid to be successful.

The state government in May put forward an offer of $10 million per year over a decade, plus $50 million for high-performance facilities.

McLachlan met face-to-face with Rockliff in early June, telling media he thought the offer was a "good start".

Rockliff on Saturday said he had made Tasmania's expectations clear to McLachlan.

"No expansion club has ever come near replicating an offer like this," Rockliff said in a statement.

"While there is value because Tasmania will derive a significant return, the government will withdraw its offer if the AFL doesn't respect the magnitude of this offer."

Rockliff said the state government was fully committed to a new stadium but will "draw the line" at a maximum contribution of 50 per cent and ensure it was built at a site and cost "acceptable to Tasmanians".

Rockliff's predecessor Peter Gutwein said a stadium could cost some $750 million, but right to information documents revealed that figure could blow out as the estimate didn't include site-specific costs.

The 18 AFL club presidents will in August vote on whether to grant Tasmania a licence.

Rockliff has called on the league to "fairly and equitably" contribute to the start-up costs of a club and ensure a "mutually agreeable" governance structure.

"It is also my explicit expectation that the Tasmanian club will be treated equally and fairly by the AFL in funding matters consistent with other similar-sized and expansion clubs," he said.

"Our offer also remains contingent upon several other assumptions ... including funding both male and female talent pathways, the establishment of a Tasmanian VFL team, and a guarantee that games will be played in both Hobart and Launceston.

" ... we are very close to a final decision and I have called on the AFL to make good on its commitments and to treat Tasmania with the same equity and respect it has provided other states.

"The only way we make history is together.

"I have every confidence we will get the job done for the survival of the code in Tasmania, the benefits it will deliver Tasmanians and our economy, but also for the success and growth of the game nationally."

An AFL spokesman said the league continues to work with the Tasmanian government through 11 substantive points.

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