Tassie premier urges AFL to dump a club
Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein has urged the AFL to consider reconfiguring the competition by replacing one of its less profitable clubs with one from the Apple Isle.
AFL operating costs are being drastically scaled back as the game tackles its biggest-ever financial crisis in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
The AFL has taken out a $600 million loan to keep the competition afloat and chief executive Gillon McLachlan has consistently said the league's aim is to ensure the survival of all 18 existing clubs.
But Gutwein on Monday said it was time for the AFL to consider whether it could afford to continue propping up struggling clubs in dire financial circumstances.
The AFL has spent millions setting up expansion outfits Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney, and continues to support debt-ridden clubs such as St Kilda.
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"They have had clubs that they have had to support in other areas of the country for a long period of time, that they have had to pour money into," Gutwein said.
Gutwein also confirmed he had spoken to McLachlan about the possibility of basing a quarantine hub in Tasmania as the AFL looks for a way to restart the 2020 season.
"Now is an opportunity for the AFL to actually start with a blank sheet of paper and to determine that they should have a national competition in the future and that Tasmania should have an AFL team at some stage in the future - and for them to consider whether some of those outlying clubs that they have poured so much money into are part of the AFL's future moving forward."
But Tasmania is yet to receive full details about which party would foot the bill and Gutwein questioned whether there would be an economic benefit to hosting a hub, especially if matches were played without crowds.
"I suspect that it may, largely, be very small," Gutwein said.
"In fact, it may even come with a cost, so I want those things to be answered first and foremost before we engage and put forward a firm proposal."
Originally published as Tassie premier urges AFL to dump a club