Bid backers are convinced memberships will fly off the shelves should Football Federation Australia give Tasmanians the chance to get behind their first state team in any football code.
Tasmania is one of 15 consortiums fighting for one of two potential A-League licences with a decision expected to be made by FFA in October.
The neglected football frontier has 15,000 registered players and the financial largess of “football crazy” former Melbourne Victory board heavyweights Robert Belteky and Harry Stamoulis behind it.
It also enjoys federal, state and local government backing, with the likelihood of approval for a new multi-purpose boutique stadium being granted imminently to provide the final crucial piece of the jigsaw.
Bid spokesperson Victoria Morton, head of South Hobart FC, believes Tasmania “has never been more ready”, confirming the consortium had registered their Expression of Interest with FFA well ahead of Thursday’s deadline.
“Apart from the solid financial backing behind the bid we’ve got bi-partisan support from just about every politician in the state,” she said.
“Football is the biggest participation sport among children in the state, and the participation rate is bursting at the seams.
“Our financial backers are crazy about football and as a bid we think we’ll be turning people away from memberships because we won’t have enough seats in our facilities for them to watch.
“Our team will embrace the state and people from every corner of the state will embrace it because it will be their team.
“It will be something uniquely Tasmanian, and I have no doubt at all we’ll have as many members as we like.
“We also think fans from inter-state will be attracted here to watch games.”
Morton was reluctant to comment on a potential stadium deal, saying only: “We’ve a lot of support and encouraging talks with the state government on a range of issues.”
It’s understood though, through local sources, that the state government wants a stadium up and running as part of its bid to stage games should Australia win hosting rights to the women’s 2023 FIFA World Cup.
Should a licence be forthcoming the team would play temporarily out of the likes of Hobart’s Blundstone Arena, North Hobart Oval or Launceston’s Aurora Stadium.
Morton doesn’t necessarily see that as a negative, insisting: “Teams like Sydney FC will be nomadic next season and Wellington Phoenix play out of an oval. I don’t see that as a reason to be kept out.
“We want to be tribal and appeal to people statewide.”
Morton said a Tasmania team would include players for multiple origins, it would present a prime pathway for local talent, negating the necessity for youngsters like Melbourne City’s Nathaniel Atkinson and Melbourne City’s Josh Hope to leave the state in search of opportunities.
“If we have our own team to aspire to play for then the sky’s the limit for youngsters here,” she said.