AFL stands firm on ‘no stadium, no Tasmanian club’

The AFL is not backing away from its ‘no stadium, no team’ condition for the new Tasmanian club as the planned $715 million ground in Hobart’s CBD continues to be a divisive election issue.

Tasmania premier Jeremy Rockliff, who is aiming to be re-elected after calling an early poll for March 23, has pledged to cap state government spending on the Macquarie Point stadium at $375 million.

Opposition leader Rebecca White has vowed to renegotiate the deal with the AFL if Labor is elected, insisting the waterfront stadium is not “the right priority for our state”.

“We also don’t believe it can be built on that site, for that price and in that time frame,” said White, who still wants an AFL team for Tasmania but without the cost to taxpayers.

When asked if he would be willing to renegotiate the agreement for the Tasmanian club, league boss Andrew Dillon said he would not be drawn into “hypotheticals”.

“We’ve been really clear on saying that the license that we have for the 19th team in Tasmania, which will be an amazing thing for Tasmania … that we do need to have a stadium in Hobart, at Macquarie Point, (seating) at least 23,000 people and with a roof, because that was a pivotal part of the business case,” Dillon said on Wednesday.

Dillon was adamant the AFL would go ahead with unveiling the nickname, widely tipped to be the Devils, and jumper in March despite the possibility of a change in state government.

As well as the $375 million pledged by the Tasmanian government, the Commonwealth is chipping in $240 million, the AFL $15 million, while $85 million is slated to come from borrowings and the private sector.

The AFL club is aiming to enter the competition as the 19th team in 2028, but it looks increasingly unlikely any stadium would be completed in time for their debut season.


Oliver Caffrey
(Australian Associated Press)

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