Cashed-up Tasmania banging at A-League door

The cashed-up backers of Tasmania’s A-League bid believe the support they enjoy across local, state and federal governments should place them at the top of the queue for an expansion tick from FFA.

A-League tasmania

Launceston's Aurora Stadium hosted Tasmania's last A-League clash in 2013 when Melbourne Victory played the Central Coast Mariners Source: Getty Images

With the race on for formal expressions of interest (EOI) for entry in 2019-2020, Tasmania - which has yet to have a representative team in any football code - is uniting behind an A-League club, lavishly funded by “football mad” former Melbourne Victory board members Robert Belteky and Harry Stamoulis.

The governing body, which could end up fielding up to nine bids, plans to unveil the two successful entrants by the end of October.

Though a third team in Sydney or Melbourne, or a second in Brisbane, remain favourites, Tasmania are bullish in their belief that FFA CEO David Gallop’s famous “fish were the fish are” mantra has lost its relevancy in the current expansion landscape.

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The existing A-League clubs have rejected FFA’s expansion announcement on the grounds that they were not consulted against a backdrop of ongoing FIFA intervention into governance reforms.

But Tasmania, in tandem with the other A-League aspirants, are ploughing ahead, confident of presenting a compelling case no matter who the final arbiter is.

Bid spokesperson Victoria Morton, head of South Hobart FC, declared: “We have well resourced, football mad owners and this is Tasmania’s best opportunity yet.

“We have political support across the board from local, state and federal governments and that’s across all parties.

“We’ll be well prepared and on the criteria presented I see nothing which would exclude us. Quite the contrary.

“I note though that the criteria states that FFA is calling for new clubs, which you’d think would exclude Brisbane Strikers and South Melbourne (former prominent members of the NSL).

“We’re ready now ... we also have Football Federation Tasmania squarely behind us.”

Morton sees the past experience, deep pockets and passion of of property mogul Stamoulis and car parks king Belteky, both key backers of Victory in their infancy, as crucial to Tasmania’s credibility as a potential A-League entity.

“They both already know exactly what it takes to own and run a successful A-League club,” she added.


"Both their sons have college soccer scholarships in the US and they are totally committed to football.

“This bid is something that unites the state and provides pathways to our kids.

“Players like Melbourne City’s Nathaniel Atkinson wouldn’t have had to have left, and the same goes for Josh Hope at Melbourne Victory, if we had a team here.”

Though a stadium deal has not yet been ratified, it’s understood that talks over a new rectangular multi-code stadium in Hobart, to be financed by all relevant bodies behind the bid, are ongoing.

Interestingly, it’s understood that a Tasmanian team in the competition is seen as a positive by the existing 10 A-League owners.

Statewide there are over 15000 kids and teenagers playing the game and it’s expanding at grassroots level as AFL contracts across the state.

According to Morton, local clubs are “straining at the seams to accommodate youngsters” in a sign of the sport’s burgeoning popularity.


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3 min read
Published 31 March 2018 at 10:55pm
By Dave Lewis