WHOLE NEW BOARD GAME
REVEALED: One voice to push Tassie’s AFL dream
THE Tasmanian Government is taking the lead in establishing a state team in the AFL with the creation of the Football Tasmania Board. Sports Minister Jacquie Petrusma said the new Board would have two key priorities: to grow participation in football across all leagues at all levels; and to forge a path towards gaining an AFL licence and our own Tasmanian team.
THE Tasmanian Government will push hard for the state’s inclusion into the AFL with the creation of the Football Tasmania Board, the Sunday Tasmanian can reveal.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan floated the idea with club CEOs on Thursday of the possibility of a Tasmanian stand-alone team and the Government hopes to build on this momentum with the announcement of a board.
Sports Minister Jacquie Petrusma said the board had been some time in the planning. “The Government has been working closely with representatives from the Tasmanian football community for some time towards establishing a new governance body that will provide one voice for football in Tasmania, the Football Tasmania Board,” Ms Petrusma said.
“The board will have two key priorities: to grow participation in football statewide across all leagues at all levels; and to forge a path towards gaining a licence and our own Tasmanian team.
“The AFL have been kept informed of the work to date and we will have more to say on the Football Tasmania Board in due course and our plans to grow participation and achieve an AFL licence.”
An AFL club insider told the Sunday Tasmanian that aside from a couple of clubs with “vested interests” in the state, the possibility of a Tasmanian stand-alone team was warmly welcomed by the vast majority of the 18 clubs.
AFL Tasmania CEO Trisha Squires said she had not been made aware of Mr McLachlan’s discussions with the clubs prior, or post, Thursday night, but said any talk was only a good thing.
“People talking about Tassie football is positive because the more people who talk about it, whether it’s Gill or the club CEOs or anyone in Tasmania, it just keeps us on the conversation, which is a real positive for me,” Ms Squires said.
The creation of the board also comes in the wake of the AFL’s steering committee probe into the health of Tasmanian football earlier this year, that did not address the state’s alarming participation drop-off or the push for a Tasmanian AFL team.
In July, the Mercury revealed that while male participation in other traditional football states has grown 5-20 per cent between 2006 to 2017, according to AFL Tasmania’s own Junior/Youth Football Review the state’s male participation has fallen 14.7 per cent over the same time.
The most alarming stat was a decline of 22 per cent in the male youth category — ages 13 to 18 and the key conduit between junior and senior football.
It is believed the board’s structure will include a representative elected from the seven TSL clubs, a delegate representing the combined three regional leagues (the SFL, NTFA and NWFL) and an AFL Tasmanian representative, as well as other board members. The Tasmanian Government has deals with North Melbourne and Hawthorn to play eight games a year in the state until the end of the 2021 season.