Sport AFL Football inquiry hears ‘elitist’ AFL Tasmania wasting taxpayers’ money

Football inquiry hears ‘elitist’ AFL Tasmania wasting taxpayers’ money

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There has been scathing criticism of the way AFL Tasmania is managing taxpayers’ money, with claims decisions are being made “over a cup of coffee”.

Parliament’s public accounts committee is investigating how AFL Tasmania spends half a million dollars of annual funding from the State Government.

The hearing in Launceston has been told the organisation is too focussed on elite clubs and is out of touch with grassroots players.

Former Launceston Football Club director Phil Thurlow told the inquiry no public money should be given to the organisation unless it restructures its management, which he described as incompetent.

He said money was wasted and important decisions were made “over a cup of coffee” rather than in consultation with clubs.

He says a new CEO should be appointed.

Former South Launceston president Baden Hayward told the inquiry the money should be directed to junior football bodies because AFL Tasmania was too focused on elite clubs and draft picks.

Greg Hay from the Northern Tasmanian Football Association (NTFA) agrees AFL Tasmania is too focused on the elite, but believes the public money should still be administered by the organisation as the sport’s peak body.

Mr Hay said there was a disconnection between the NTFA and AFL Tasmania, which did not consult the league about South Launceston entering the competition next season.

The committee’s chairman, Independent MLC Ivan Dean, says AFL Tasmania will also be called to give evidence.

“Very clearly we’ll want to hear from the Government personnel as well, but that will also be at the end of the process.”