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Eddie’s mega multimillion-dollar, eight-point plan to create two new AFL teams

Former Collingwood president Eddie McGuire has laid out a detailed, bold plan to introduce a stand-alone Tasmanian team, plus another club, and make the AFL truly national by 2028.

The AFL last month announced former Cats president and AFL Commissioner, Colin Carter, would review the business case for a 19th AFL licence in Tasmania and hand down his findings mid-year as the state ramps up its bid for a stand-alone club.

But McGuire on Channel 9’s Footy Classified on Wednesday night laid out an AFL expansion blueprint for the next decade that, not only included a 19th club in Tasmania, but also a 20th Darwin/North Queensland team.

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“The time has come for all parties promulgating a team in Tasmania to put up or shut up,” McGuire told Footy Classified.

“The AFL cops it whichever way it goes, politicians make unrealistic demands, clubs don’t want to take any more hits while still trying to get through COVID-19.

“So having spoken to key people across the gamut of interest, here goes.”

MONEY

McGuire said the Tasmanian government had some “homework” to complete – and it would appear costlier than Premier Peter Gutwein may have budgeted for.

“You can have a stand-alone team in the AFL competition in 2028. But from this year, you need to contribute not $10 million, but $20 million per season, indexed forever.

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein. Picture: Richard JupeSource:News Corp Australia

“You also need to hit the federal government up for a further $20 million forever.

“The AFL will be in for a similar amount, and you’ll need to find another 10 to $15 million in commercial profit to make this work.”

TALENT

McGuire pointed out that only 12 players had been drafted to AFL clubs from Tasmania since 2015, comparing that to NAB League club Sandringham Dragons’ haul of 37 players.

He also presented stats that Tasmania makes up just three per cent of all listed AFL players and 4.4 per cent of AFLW players.

“You need to build pathway scholarships and talent programs to contribute at least six players per year into the AFL draft by 2028.

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“You are averaging two at the moment. Sandringham Dragons averaged six from their catchment area, so it’s not too much to ask.

“But this plays to education, health and the excitement of the game for a whole new generation of kids in Tasmania.

STADIUM

One of the big anticipated sticking points for a Tasmanian team would be where the club would be based and play the majority of its home games at.

McGuire implored Premier Gutwein to find a happy medium and unite the state.

But whichever ground they choose, McGuire had one non-negotiable: “It needs a roof, simple as that.”

McGuire added; “Tassie must commit to being an AFL state. Premier, you need to decide where your ground will be – that’s your call.”

“One influential Tasmanian who knows a bit about the caper said to me: ‘Macquarie Point in Hobart right next to the docks, restaurants, night-life and et cetera, is smack bang in the centre of town.

Macquarie Point chief executive Mary Massina. Picture: Nikki Davis-JonesSource:News Corp Australia

“‘The joint will go nuclear,’ he told me – and that’s what we want: Nuclear. It can’t be just a footy team, it has to be a life force for the Tasmanian community, for football, for cricket, for concerts. Let’s be serious about this.

“And if you want to be on Friday night football, you have to have a roof on your stadium. You don’t want to be the last game on Sunday, it defeats the whole purpose.

LIFESTYLE

McGuire said it was critical the AFL team push worked closely with other stakeholders.

“You must co-ordinate universities and lifestyle opportunities, sports medicine facilities to attract and retain the best athletes in the country, to want them to play for your team and to stay in your state,” he said.

“So let’s get the money from infrastructure, health, education, tourism budgets and from private enterprise.”

LEADERSHIP

For this to work, though, McGuire said the “best Tasmanian leaders” needed to be anchoring the charge.

Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale has thrown his support behind Tasmania’s bid for an AFL team in the past. Picture: Kim EiszeleSource:News Corp Australia

McGuire nominated Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale, outgoing Cats chief executive Brian Cook and former Collingwood football boss Geoff Walsh as strong options, while former coaches like Brad Scott and Mick Malthouse were “just some of the names in the men’s game I’d be lining up in this – the biggest development in the game for the next 20 years”.

“It gives the AFL a road map when considering its next CEO and the makeup of its Commission and its media and government negotiation,” McGuire said.

THE ‘BREAKTHROUGH’ VICTORIAN TEAM

As part of the road map, McGuire suggested that one Victorian team should be Tasmania’s “breakthrough” side between 2022 and 2027 until the state’s stand-alone team was ready in 2028.

“There is nothing more demoralising for Tasmania, and for the game in general, to have reluctant partners.

“This has to be a competition solution. So everyone plays their role. So the team that has this golden opportunity by partnering with Tasmania until 2028 needs to tender for the position.”

While it looms as a sacrifice on the surface, McGuire insisted: “What a deal I have for you.”

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He proposed the Victorian-based team plays:

– Four home and away games in Tasmania

– Twelve home and away games in Melbourne

– Two home and away games interstate

As for the other four home and away games, McGuire said they would “come from the AFL assisted clubs”.

“That’s their contribution – and that can be mitigated by access to away games at the MCG. It works for everyone,” he said.

“One game per year is a blockbuster versus one of the big clubs with a full festival of football scheduled in Tasmania, Commission presidents meetings, media relocations of shows like this, symposiums and a genuine show to Tasmania that we love them and that we’re building something fantastic.

“This team still gets as many games in their home city as every non Victorian team and their future is assured. It’s a good deal.”

McGuire also said those club’s members should receive free access to Kayo Sports, as well as deals to travel to Tasmania.

THE 20TH TEAM

But, as McGuire said, this is “where things get really interesting”.

The TV host said if the AFL was committed to bringing in a 19th team, it “makes sense” to add a 20th club.

“The AFL Commission has a once in a lifetime opportunity to finish the job and have the only real national competition in Australian sport,” McGuire declared.

McGuire received support for the move from former AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou.

“If you are to have a 19th team, it is incumbent upon Tasmania, the state and the AFL and other stakeholders to work towards a 20th team,” Demetriou told Footy Classified.

Former AFL boss Andrew Demetriou. Picture: David CairdSource:News Corp Australia

“You work towards getting a 20th team and you get a 10th game on the roster and the 10th game will be worth something to broadcasters, it would help support a 19th term in Tasmania.

“But I just don’t think there is the stomach, that there is the will of a team to be relocated in the first place. I think that’s going to cause a lot of issues for whoever that club may be. And I think in the heart of hearts, Tasmania would prefer their own team as they should.”

So here’s wat McGuire envisages:

– Each team plays each other once, with a 20th round for a rivalry/derby weekend. McGuire said adding a 20th team “fixes the fixture” and that it’d only be two more home and away games than the current nine-game, 22-round set-up.

– A 12-team finals series that would include 15 finals, up from the current finals system of nine. McGuire said: “It gives you hope late into the season for everyone to have a chance at making the finals.”

McGuire estimated it would add $20 million per year to the league’s TV rights deal for two less games for the players.

SO WHERE DOES THE 20TH TEAM COME FROM?

McGuire reported a licence fee of $100 million had been “spoken about seriously”.

While the success of Perth’s Optus Stadium “opens the opportunity for a third Western Australian team”, McGuire said “the natural home” for a 20th team would be Darwin and far north Queensland.

“Call them ‘The Crocodiles’ – and for good measure, we might play two games in LA – but that’s for another day,” he said.

Irving Mosquito’s Bombers took on Richmond in the 2020 Dreamtime match at TIO Stadium in Darwin. Picture: Daniel KaliszSource:Getty Images

“Billions of dollars of sporting infrastructure is going into the Olympics in Queensland. It will also give far more Indigenous boys and girls the opportunity to play professional sport.

“What momentum for the game in Indigenous health and recognition for boys and girls in their own backyard.”

“So there are options and Tasmania better not miss the boat again. When Tasmania does things big, like the magnificent Museum of Old and New art, Mona, it leads the world – and that’s the thinking we need: Innovative, progressive, exciting.”

Originally published asEddie’s revolutionary 20-team proposal

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