AFL slammed for “taking Tasmania for granted”
Cries for a Tasmanian AFL team continue to fall on deaf ears at AFL House.
Fans Association President Gerry Eeman says while the game’s administration continues to deny Tasmanians the team they long for, supporters from all parts of the country have taken up the cause on their behalf.
“The reality is, the AFL has taken for granted fans in Tassie,” Eeman told Macquarie Sports Radio’s Cam Reddin.
“Gil [McLachlan] said they’ve got to prove to us under this new plan that they deserve a team. Where did that proof come in with GWS and Gold Coast? Those teams were inserted top-down. There wasn’t a grassroots swell that was demanding a team. Tassie’s been crying out for a team as long as I can remember,” Eeman said.
Eeman says the AFL has ignored Tasmania because fans already watch the game on television, and will continue to support interstate sides in the absence of their own side.
“[The AFL] have thought to themselves [fans in Tasmania] are already feeding money into the system by watching games and giving them high ratings and pleasing advertisers, so we don’t need to win them over” Eeman said.
Rather than conquering new frontiers like Western Sydney or the Gold Coast, Eeman believes the AFL would be better off rewarding communities that already support the game and have done for decades.
“You should be rewarding people who really stick up for the game and watch it week-in, week-out,” he said.
“I can’t think of an issue that has more uniform support of the football public. I have yet to meet someone that has said to me ‘I don’t think a team should be established in Tassie’.”
A Tasmanian side will re-enter the VFL in 2021, with view to one day being granted an AFL licence.
Click below to listen or hear the full interview here