An independent review of Tasmania's AFL bid will be completed sooner than expected following a series of meetings between Premier Peter Gutwein and AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan.
Initially set to wait until the new year for an official response to its business plan, Tasmania will now receive the report by mid-year with a definitive answer expected by the end of 2021.
The report will be made public upon its completion, at which stage the state government plans to reopen talks with Hawthorn and North Melbourne.
A wait period of several months will follow as AFL club presidents take the time to review the report at the season's end.
Mr Gutwein said the new timeline would give the state adequate time to plan its events calendar for 2022.
"I'm very pleased that in terms of what the AFL's original position was and the fact that [McLachlan] has now agreed to begin immediately," he said.
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"We have a business case which the state believes demonstrates we can have our own team.
"The independent review ... I'm very firmly of the view that the case will stand up and faced with the evidence I don't think the AFL are going to have too many options to be frank.
"But importantly in the conversations I've had with Mr McLachlan - and this is my view - I think he's of a mind that Tasmania does deserve a team."
Hawthorn and North Melbourne, whose five-year deals end this season, had both been supportive of the review being completed sooner than next year.
Mr Gutwein said the AFL's request for club presidents to be given until the off-season to dissect the review was a reasonable one.
"The season as we're fully aware - they've had some changes already with rostering and I think it's important that in terms of managing COVID that we allow this season to progress," Mr Gutwein said.
"Across the country in a whole range of areas there will be challenges and I think his request that the presidents consider this later in the year is reasonable under those circumstances."
The appointment of an independent consultant will be the next step in the process, with Mr Gutwein highlighting the importance of a review process that is "above reproach".
Meanwhile, Richmond's Tasmanian-born chief executive and former ruckman Brendon Gale has had his say on the state's AFL bid.
Speaking to SEN Radio, Gale said the bid was "complicated", but ultimately had his support.
"I would love to see a Tasmanian team in the competition - I think it'd be great for the AFL, I think it'd be great for the code of Australian rules and it'd be great for Tasmania," the 52-year-old said.
"In terms of how it's done and the execution, that's the million dollar question and it's very complicated, but ultimately I think it'd be wonderful to have all our states represented in what is our Australian game.
"It's been brought to a head by the Tasmanian Premier, but I will say this in fairness - it's an incredibly trying year.
"Clubs have been battling to survive and get through and the AFL has been battling to steer the competition to safe harbour, so there probably hasn't been enough time and space to consider the execution and ultimately that's up to higher powers than me."
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