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AFL won’t push North to Tassie

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1st April, 2020
11

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has attempted to pour cold water on fresh speculation linking North Melbourne with a full relocation to Tasmania.

The Kangaroos responded angrily this week to reports that senior figures in the game believe relocation remains on the table, more than a decade after the club rejected a move to Gold Coast.

The renewed debate has come at an uncertain time as the AFL and all of its clubs face an existential crisis amid massive financial hits caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

But McLachlan said the AFL remained committed to making sure all of the 18 clubs survive in their current locations beyond 2020.

A $500 million line of credit, secured by the AFL with banks this week, will go some way towards achieving that goal.

“We’re working with the clubs on securing their futures through a revised funding model,” McLachlan told Seven News on Wednesday night.

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“We’ve been dealing with the financial situation at hand.

“We’ve talked of the current 18 clubs in the current structure and them coming out exactly the same at the end of this year.”

Ben Brown

(Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

North Melbourne chairman Ben Buckley, club legend Corey McKernan and former president James Brayshaw were among the most vocal club figures to hit back at the relocation reports this week.

Buckley lashed the speculation as “rumour mongering”.

But former North Melbourne powerbroker Ron Joseph believes the club is facing another battle to remain at its traditional home at Arden Street.

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“I think North Melbourne has been identified as the club that they’d like to head AFL football in Tasmania,” Joseph told The Age.

“They haven’t got an AFL competition until they have a Tasmanian team. It’s a real issue for the AFL.”

Joseph said he would “fight like buggery” to keep North Melbourne at Arden Street if the league tried to relocate it again.

North Melbourne are currently contracted to play four home games a season in Hobart in a deal that runs until the end of 2021.

Tasmanian football officials have been hopeful of establishing their own AFL club as early as 2025, however, it remains to be seen if the financial crisis alters that timeline.

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