Premier Peter Gutwein has ratcheted up pressure on the AFL, demanding the league give an indication of when Tasmania is likely to be granted a licence for a team.
In a sign the state government intends to use its deals with Hawthorn and North Melbourne as leverage in its negotiations with the league, Mr Gutwein said yesterday that agreements to extend the deals couldn't be concluded until the AFL gave Tasmania a timeline for a team of its own.
He said he had written to AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan two weeks ago and was yet to receive a response.
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"My office reached out to them [and] I understand that they are considering my letter," the Premier said. "But to be frank, I think it's disrespectful from the AFL in terms of the way that they have managed this."
"It's up to the AFL now to explain their view ... and where Tasmania stands in respect of a licence.
"I wrote to Gil on the basis of the fact that we're currently negotiating with Hawthorn and obviously we need to have discussions with North Melbourne next year. Until we know what the AFL's view is on granting Tasmania its own licence, we won't be able to conclude those negotiations."
Earlier this year, before the COVID-19 pandemic, Tasmania's AFL taskforce released a report in which it concluded that the state could sustain an AFL team from 2025 onwards.
An AFL spokesperson said league chief executive Gillon McLachlan had been in contact with Mr Gutwein through the year, as well as the head of the state's AFL taskforce Brett Godfrey "on a number of occasions".
"[The AFL] received the recent letter from Premier Gutwein and will continue the ongoing discussion," the spokesperson said.
Taxpayers fork out about $8 million per year for the government's Hawthorn and North Melbourne deals, which see the Hawks play games at the University of Tasmania Stadium in Launceston and the Kangaroos play at Blundstone Arena at Bellerive.
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