Image: AAP/James Ross
AFL chief executive-elect Andrew Dillon says all the “building blocks” are in place for a Tasmanian expansion club as an official announcement draws closer.
But Gillon McLachlan’s successor, who officially takes over the top job in October, is refusing to put a firm time frame on the news football fans in the island state have been waiting so long to hear.
McLachlan is tipped to be in Tasmania on Wednesday to confirm the state – until now frozen out of the national competition – has finally been granted a licence.
“It’s a really exciting time and there’s some key decisions probably to be had in the next potentially day or coming days and coming weeks about Tasmania,” Dillon told reporters on Monday.
“But all the building blocks are in place and we’re really looking forward. It’s exciting.”
Dillon said the league was buoyed by Saturday’s announcement of federal government funding for a new waterfront stadium in Hobart, which would be home to the league’s 19th club.
Existing club presidents are due to meet on Tuesday to formalise their position on the matter.
“It’s a decision for the (AFL) commission and we’ll get the right outcome at the right time,” Dillon said.
“We’ll run the right process.”
Tasmanian premier Jeremy Rockliff has been more forthright, declaring his expectation that the AFL will confirm the state’s entry into the competition imminently.
“It’s our strong expectation that we will have our own team in the not too distant future,” he told ABC radio on Monday.
“That announcement I expect before the end of the week, frankly.
“We’ve fought hard. It’s come at some, if you like, political skin. But the best things are worth fighting hard for.”
Brisbane coach Chris Fagan, a proud Tasmanian, said a team would be a huge shot in the arm for football in the state.
“Footy was really strong in Tasmania back in my playing days and I’ve watched in recent years it fade away to be a bit of a shadow of its former self,” he told Fox Footy.
“The addition of an AFL team in Tasmania will be great for all the young kids there, AFL footy right there on their doorstep, it should lead to more participation and enthusiasm around the sport.”