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Tasmania, 19th team licence, stadium, new build, funding, Jeremy Rockliff premier, opposition, shortfall, state divided

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Tasmania’s hopes for a 19th AFL team still hang in the balance, despite an “in-principal agreement” being agreed to last month.

And it’s four words from Federal Minister for Sport Anika Wells that has further put the bid in doubt, stating it’s “a lot to ask” the government to help fund the build of a new stadium.

“(Tasmania) deserve one – we just don’t think it needs to be conditional of having a stadium to get there. No one else had to do that,” she said on SEN.

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“$375 million bucks for a stadium is a lot to ask.”

WIN News reporter Brent Costelloe says Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff will be meeting with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese “later this week” as the funding issue continues to hold the decision back.

A business plan has been delivered to the PM where as it stands, the Tasmania State government will fund half of the $750m new stadium build in Macquarie Point.

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The AFL is set to chip in an additional $15m, but the Federal Government will need to bridge the gap for the rest of the funding.

The stadium battle is the latest drama for Tasmania’s hopes for a team.

Despite an initial August team decision deadline pushing out, reportedly to December, there is still no official announcement on whether the team is successful – and it’s now facing tough opposition from Tasmania’s Labor Party.

State opposition leader Rebecca White has previously labelled Rockliff’s stadium plans as an “obsession” and a “bad idea”.

Premier Jeremy Rockliff with AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan in Hobart. Picture: Brett StubbsSource: News Corp Australia

“The other subplot to this story is that if the Federal Government do decide to fund this, it goes against the opinion of the state counterparts in Tasmania,” Costelloe said.

“So how that’s going to work will be fascinating as well if the Feds do decide to fund it.

“No doubt there’s a lot more to play out, it’s going to be interesting to see what direction it takes.”

Costelloe revealed Tasmanians were divided over the stadium build, but believed the new venue was needed to “future proof” the state for its AFL plans.

“UTAS (Stadium) is probably OK in Launceston, but Bellerive/Blundstone was never built for footy,” he said on SEN.

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“It’s a cricket venue – you can’t even get a cheer squad behind the goals because that’s where the members is.

“If you look around at Adelaide or Perth, there’s not too many bad footy grounds around Australia now. It wouldn’t take Bellerive long to be outdated.”

In a positive for the Tassie team bid, it’s reported all club presidents are on board to support the 19th licence.

Story Credit: foxsports.com.au

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