THE AFL has dedicated two of its key executives to work with the Tasmanian government as a decision on a club in the island state looms.
All 18 clubs will next year vote on whether Tasmania should have its own team.
An independent report on the merits of a club in Tasmania, conducted by former Geelong president Colin Carter, was released earlier this year and found the state deserves to be represented with a club.
The AFL has confirmed the league’s chief financial officer Travis Auld, along with its general manager Sam Graham, will work with the Tasmanian licence taskforce and the state’s government.
“We are at a very important juncture in the continued assessment of modelling for a potential team in Tasmania and the announcement reflects the importance it has within AFL head office,” AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said on Wednesday.
“Travis and Sam will lead our work, Travis having recently played a crucial leadership role in ensuring the last two AFL and AFLW seasons were successfully navigated throughout the COVID pandemic.
“Sam, previously holding key leadership roles across game development and our growth in NSW, will solely focus on this project, ensuring we have a preferred position to take to the AFL club presidents next year.”
It comes after the Tasmanian AFL taskforce last month secured the help of four-time Hawthorn premiership coach Alastair Clarkson.
Now in the United States as he begins a year away from coaching, Clarkson has long been a vocal supporter of the state’s bid to be granted the 19th AFL licence.
Hawthorn played home games in Launceston during Clarkson’s entire 17-season spell with the Hawks.
After his final game in charge of Hawthorn in Tasmania, Clarkson called for the AFL to introduce a new club in the state as soon as possible.
Tasmania premier Peter Gutwein said a review into community football in the state will also coincide with the AFL call.
“We want to ensure Tasmania finally gets our own AFL and AFLW teams in the national competition whilst also ensuring that we strengthen the base of football in Tasmania,” Gutwein said.
“Therefore it makes sense to finalise the best way forward for the game in Tasmania once this license process is complete.
“The joint AFL and Tasmanian licence taskforce working group…is currently working through the matters raised in the Carter Report ahead of a final position being put to AFL club presidents.”