The Devonport Football Club have withdrawn from the Tasmanian State League (TSL) for season 2018.
This is a decision that comes as a complete shock to AFL Tasmania, despite a number of opportunities to do so, Devonport Football Club gave no indication of their withdrawal from the TSL prior to last night (14/12/2017).
“Clubs are well within their rights to make choices, the choice not to play in the TSL is Devonport’s right but it is the lack of communication in recent months that has blindsided us,” TSL Manager Carl Saunder said.
“We held a TSL meeting on the 28th of November to finalise our fixture and at no stage did Devonport FC give any indication of withdrawing from the TSL.
“We released our fixture this week… we have been blindsided by the club’s withdrawal.”
Devonport FC’s decision to withdraw from the competition is due to insufficient playing numbers to field competitive teams across all grades and competitions.
AFL Tasmania acknowledges the difficulties Devonport FC’s withdrawal creates for the competition but the state’s governing body reaffirms its commitment to the TSL.
“It is disappointing Devonport FC aren’t in a position to participate in the TSL but our commitment to the competition remains.”
The TSL will be an eight-team competition in 2018 and will be mirrored in the Mercury Cup, with a new fixture to be developed and released in the new year.
“Our vision and commitment to our clubs and the state league continues, we need to readjust and make necessary changes.”
The TSL plays an important role in the football landscape for Tasmanian talent, the competition will continue to showcase Tasmania’s finest talent from across the state, with players in each region competing at the top level.
AFL Tasmania’s Talent Academy and TSL management will work with all relevant players and clubs to ensure players from the Devonport zone have the opportunity to play in the TSL.
“We are dedicated to ensuring the pathway for Devonport talent to play TSL remains despite the club’s withdrawal.”
Devonport FC have communicated their intentions to field teams in the NWFL in season 2018. TSL management will remain in dialogue with Devonport on how the club is progressing and discussion on football seasons, beyond 2018.
“Devonport still holds a licence in the TSL but they won’t be competing in 2018.
“It is too early to comment on the makeup of the competition or Devonport’s involvement for future seasons beyond next year.”