A re-named Tasmanian State League would operate on tenterhooks from next year should the AFL get its way.
AFL plans unveiled this week to brand the state’s top-tier competition as the Tasmanian Premier League from next season and guarantee its survival until 2023 have been met with heavy criticism by Northern Tasmania’s two TSL presidents – Thane Brady and Sandra Boland.
Previously undisclosed details discussed by the Gillon McLachlan-led steering committee have emerged whereby AFL Tasmania seeks to have the power to suspend the $100,000 grants handed to all seven existing clubs should one fail to meet a list of key performance indicators. Clubs have rejected the KPIs and been asked to devise alternatives over the next fortnight.
Brady said recommendations tabled on Wednesday in Launceston by members of the steering committee –established in March to determine a blueprint for the game’s future in Tasmania – were done so with a “take it or leave it” attitude.
“Robert Auld is suggesting judging all seven clubs on the same KPIs and if one club falls short, all grant money is suspended with no prior warning or opportunity to correct an issue,” Brady said.
“They also want to take back the $7000 recently awarded to the seven clubs after not receiving a CPI increase since 2014, cut the filming and live streaming of games, slash promotion on social media and reduce the MRP and tribunal back to community footy standard.
“They no longer want to provide $1000 bus subsidies to clubs which will impose a $20,000 cost back onto clubs, make redundant any AFL Tasmania support staff aside from one full-time position, scrap player zones so talent can transfer between clubs without a fee and allow the grand final to be played outside an AFL-standard venue.
“And after 10 years of the AFL demanding we be known as high performance centres of excellence, they will only be referred to as community clubs. All seven clubs rejected these things outright and I'm not convinced Auld has the ability to make these changes without failing to stay within the AFL’s contract obligations under the licence agreement.”
Brady said he looks forward joining the other club presidents, who have started drafting a response, in keeping the AFL accountable to the ethical and behavioural standards expected for such an organisation.
An email from AFL Tasmania chief executive Trisha Squires to TSL presidents said: “If KPIs are not sufficiently met to AFL Tasmania’s satisfaction, then notice of termination can be given by AFL Tasmania to all TPL clubs in the current season”.
“Termination will take effect at the end of that season, however, notice cannot be given any later than 30th September of that year. Clubs will also be given a termination right in-season that will take effect at the end of that season.”
The AFL will fund three regional full-time development managers from the TSL’s $1.3 million budget.
McLachlan will hand down the committee’s full findings in Tasmania next week, once they have been signed off by the AFL commission. Details on plans for a full-time Mariners program and a Tasmanian VFL side or affiliation are unknown.