The Southern Football League (SFL) welcomes today’s announcement of a Tasmanian AFL licence.
Passionate Tasmanian football lovers have pushed for our own AFL team for decades. We are a traditional football state, having provided the AFL with many talented Tassie players over the years including some of the greatest players ever to have played the game. We have well and truly earned this Tassie team, and now the AFL can call itself a truly national competition.
Today’s announcement provides a long-overdue boost for all levels of football in our great state.
The commitment by the AFL of a $360 million investment into a Tasmanian football team is applauded by the SFL, particularly the pledge that a significant portion of this funding will go towards game development and end-to-end talent pathway programs for Tasmanian boys and girls.
The AFL’s plan to increase participation in the state, including programs and competitions in schools across Tasmania is exciting. Imagining a state where every child has a footy in their hand is exactly the bold and ambitious vision that will see a Tasmanian AFL team succeed beyond even the most optimistic expectations.
Yet, we must not drop the ball now.; Pouring money into development and community football will be wasted if we do not have the basics right. We have seen proud and strong clubs face challenges of recent times and we need to ensure that the ecosystem of Australian rules in Tasmanian is healthy and vibrant. The issues experienced by some clubs and leagues must be addressed and we look forward to working with the AFL and the State Government on a positive plan for the future.
The SFL have long supported the push for an AFL licence and now the time has come to restructure football in this state. This will require a holistic approach and a clear vision, not only for football in the south but for football across our great state.
The last push for a Tasmanian team will be in vain if the right decisions are not made to lift all boats on this rising tide.
All quotes attributed to SFL President David O’Byrne
Footnote – The Southern Tasmanian Football League (STFL) was founded in 1996. The SFL and SFLW competitions cover 8 municipalities across southern Tasmania. The competition has 43 teams and over 1600 players registered.