Get the A-Leagues to Tasmania, it’s the next logical step

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Tasmania is one of the only states without an A-Leagues team and here is why that needs to change.

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Tasmania, along with the Northern Territory, are the only two Australian states and territories without any A-Leagues teams. 

This is despite the fact that another country, albeit New Zealand, have the Wellington Phoenix. The club has played in the A-League Men’s since 2007/08 and debuted their Women’s team this season (2021/22). 

For our national league to become truly all-encompassing a team is needed in each and every corner of the country. 

Thus the next logical step for A-Leagues expansion should be towards either the Apple Isle or the NT, whether that be a men’s or women’s team.

With the National Basketball League (NBL) debuting the Tasmanian JackJumpers for their 2021/22 season and the AFL establishing a task force to bring a 19th side from Tasmania into the competition, there is no time like the present for the A-Leagues to expand there as well.

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Previous attempts at starting an A-Leagues franchise in Tasmania have fallen flat.

Most recently an attempt was made in 2011 with the intention of winning the vacant 11th A-league Men’s licence for the 2012/13 season and introducing ‘Tasmania United FC’.

Without the backing of Football Tasmania and the state government, however, the bid never eventuated.

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The main stipulation was that it would be a private venture without the input or oversight of FT.

Tasmania does have an NPL men’s competition with eight sides, and an NPL women’s league with seven sides, showing the strength of the code in the state. 

Football Tasmania president Bob Gordon made comments in mid-2021 on the possibility of an A-Leagues expansion.

“I’m an optimist, it might be two years,” Gordon told WIN News. 

“It might be four, it might be three. I don’t think it will be next season, but it might be the one after,” he said. 

The major roadblock currently hindering the expansion into Tasmania is the state’s lack of a major rectangular stadium. 

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If the state government were to invest in the construction of a stadium, this would bring major strength to an A-Leagues bid.

“We’ve got a big enough player and supporter base here to support an A-League team regardless of what other sports and venues are going on,” Gordon said. 

In terms of naming and branding for the club, many oppose using the name ‘Tigers’ as the state cricket team already has this nickname.

For similar reasons the use of ‘Devils’ may also be excluded as there is the expectation that it will be the name of a future Tasmanian-based AFL side.

Something still reminiscent of Tasmania such as ‘Convicts’ could work to identify the team. 

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Olyroos star Nathaniel Atkinson was born in Launceston and began his career at one of the state’s NPL clubs – Riverside Olympic FC – before moving into the Melbourne City Academy.

And he is a big believer in the idea of a Tasmanian A-Leagues side.

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“I think it will happen, it’s just a matter of when,” he told FTBL.

“The more teams in the league the more exciting it gets, the more eyes on the game.

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Bringing the A-Leagues to the southernmost state is inevitable but that does not mean it should be put on the back-burner.

It should be implemented as fast as possible to continue the growth of football, and football fandom in Australia.

Feature Image Credit: Football Australia

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Bill Hedley
Bill Hedley
Journalism under graduate at the University of Queensland. I have been a die-hard football player and fan for the past 16 years and am now a passionate multimedia Journalist, covering Brisbane Roar for the 2021/22 A-League season.

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