Four-time premiership coach Alastair Clarkson is officially part of the Tasmanian bid for an AFL team after taking on a contract to advise the taskforce driving the bid.
An outspoken advocate of Tasmania having a team in the competition, Clarkson was confirmed as a part of the official bid team by Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein.
He made the announcement of the six-month contract for Clarkson on Thursday morning.
“Alastair will provide input on funding, infrastructure, a state football pathway, talent identification pathways and membership,” the Premier said.
“Alastair will use his existing knowledge and access to prime American sports teams to provide specification on what’s required for a ‘best of breed’ training and high performance centre.”
The Premier described Clarkson’s appointment as an enormous step forward for the bid.
Clarkson, 53, left for America last week on a study tour and is expected to add knowledge from that trip to the Tasmanian bid.
He rebuked strong coaching offers from Carlton and Collingwood after being unseated at Hawthorn, where he won his four premierships, by Sam Mitchell.
But Clarkson said he would even coach the new Tasmanian team, should it be admitted.
“It depends where I’m at and what I’m doing at that point in time, but yeah, without a doubt,” Clarkson said last month.
“If I was unemployed like I am now, I’d be putting my hand up big time to be involved in such an exciting venture.
“I think it’s a no-brainer for the AFL competition and it’s a no-brainer for Tassie to roll their sleeves up and get behind it.”
The Tasmanian taskforce has presented a business case for a stand-alone team to the AFL, and former Geelong president and AFL commissioner Colin Carter also provide an independent report assessing the merits of the business case.
The AFL has deferred making any call on a Tasmanian team until sometime in 2022 when the AFL Commission and 18 AFL clubs will vote on the move.