THE AFL has dashed Tasmania's hopes of securing its own team in the near future, ruling out any new clubs being added to the national competition for at least the next decade.
Speaking in Hobart yesterday, AFL deputy chief executive Gillon McLachlan said a single team that represented Tasmania was the ideal model.
``Who that is and what form that takes is a complex question,'' McLachlan said.
He reaffirmed Tasmania's place at the head of the queue to be admitted to the competition, but said it would take at least 10 years for an opportunity to open up.
``Within a 10-year time frame I don't see an additional team in our league. We've got significant challenges that were always forecast for bedding down Gold Coast and GWS and those challenges are consuming financially and operationally out to that period of time. After that who knows.''
In the meantime, he wants to see more AFL games played in Tasmania.
``I think we're working constructively with all parties to increase the level of content.''
McLachlan was reluctant to be drawn into the rivalry between the North and South, urging Tasmanians to unite to build their case for their own AFL team.
``Whatever form a team takes in Tasmania going forward . . . whether it's one team representing Tasmania or whether it's a Tasmanian team in 12 years' time, it can't work without all of Tasmania getting behind it.''
McLachlan, who is tipped to take over from Andrew Demetriou at the end of the season, was in Hobart yesterday to announce a new structure of governance for the game in Tasmania.
AFL Tasmania's board has been disbanded with chief executive officer Scott Wade now reporting directly to AFL headquarters.
AFL Tasmania will be responsible for the growth of the game while the newly formed Tasmanian Football Council, representing the three regional leagues, will also have input.