Have Tasmania’s A-League aspirations just taken a hit?

Nick Symonds Roar Rookie

By Nick Symonds, Nick Symonds is a Roar Rookie

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    Until now all talk has been of a single team A-League bid for Tasmania, but now things appear to be up in the air.

    According to an ABC news report an AAFC (Association of Australian Football Clubs) meeting in Brisbane on July 15 will determine how a second-tier competition would look.

    South Hobart FC president Victoria Morton who is deputy chair of the newly formed AAFC has said that: “I’m not in favor of creating a new franchise” in relation to creating a new single team to represent the whole state.

    If AAFC is successful, it is likely that one or more of the existing NPL (state league) clubs would take part in the new second division rather than a composite Tasmanian team.

    It is believed that South Hobart, Olympia Warriors (Northern Hobart) and Devonport are all interested in playing in a new national competition. But notably absent so far are either of the two NPL clubs from Launceston.

    Football Federation Tasmania CEO Mike Palmer has also gone on record speaking out against a single team model saying: “It would not be our intention for Tasmania to be represented by a state team in any second-tier competition”.

    As for the A-League bid the signs aren’t looking good.

    The A-League consortium led by Harry Stamoulis and Robert Belteky has reportedly gone to ground and council haven’t heard back form them since they put forward a proposal for a 15,000-seat rectangular stadium in Hobart earlier this year.

    Hobart City Council general manager Nick Heath stated: “Our door remains open to any proposal, but we are yet to hear back from the consortium since the initial briefing”.

    What it all means
    The ABC news report does note that “Tasmanian representation in a national B-League or A2 would be independent of any future Tasmanian A-League team” but if the Stamoulis-Belteky consortium have disappeared then Tasmania won’t be one of the new expansion teams.

    The latest developments could have serious ramifications for a Tasmanian AFL bid. One of the main points in favour of the Tasmanian A-League bid was that it would unite the whole state and wouldn’t be beset by the same division that an AFL team would be. Not so, apparently.

    If the AFL were ever thinking about giving Tasmania a team they might now be having second thoughts and anyone in Melbourne opposed to a Tasmanian team will now have more ammunition to shoot it down with.

    Unless Stamoulis and Belteky reappear the only way that any team from Tasmania will be able to enter the A-League is via promotion from a second division. But it won’t be one that represents the whole state.

    As for a Tasmanian AFL team this episode might just be the end of it.

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