A-League team bid for Tasmania 'a very live possibility'

As things stand, expanding the A-League might be the last thing on the minds of Football Federation Australia (FFA).

But Tasmanian federal independent MP Andrew Wilkie insists the bid to bring a team to the state is still very much alive.

Mr Wilkie says the plan — spearheaded by Melbourne property mogul Harry Stamoulis — is in a holding pattern, but has confirmed he personally met with FFA as recently as two months ago.

“I’ve stayed in touch with the proponents, and I’ve also met on a couple of occasions now with Football Federation Australia,” he said.

“It’s clear it’s still a very live possibility.”

It’s understood Mr Wilkie met with FFA’s head of corporate affairs John Kent.

Last year Mr Wilkie addressed Federal Parliament, outlining the benefits a team in the national competition would bring to Tasmania, and he has pledged to lobby for federal funding to assist the bid.

“Until there’s a firm proposal, we can’t go hunting for money, but there is money,” he said.

“We do know for sure that the State Government is committed to supporting an A-League bid, the Hobart City Council is committed to supporting an A-League bid, so between the three levels of government, we should be able to come up with some public funding support.”

Melbourne Victory trains at North Hobart Oval in 2014.

With the sports governing body currently in turmoil, and FIFA looking increasingly likely to install its own board to oversee the game in Australia, expansion plans have been put on hold.

But Mr Wilkie believes talks will resume soon.

“There’s been no reduction in the enthusiasm from the proponents,” he said.

“The only delay is because of what’s been happening with football nationally.

“My understanding is a lot of that should be behind us by the end of this year, or by early next year at the latest, and then I think we’ll see a resurgence in A-League expansion.”

Mr Stamoulis and fellow proponent Robert Belteky are expected to be in Tasmania next month, and plan to meet government and council representatives.

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