Tasmania's long wait for AFL representation will soon be over, with the league confirming the state has been granted a team licence and is expected to enter the men's competition as early as 2028.
The announcement comes the day after all 18 AFL club presidents unanimously voted in favour of granting Tasmania a team licence, a move which has since been endorsed by the commission.
The federal government has also played its part, recently announcing funding for a new 23,000-seat roofed waterfront stadium in Hobart.
"There are big days and then there are really big days. I'm proud and excited to announce the awarding of the 19th licence to play in the AFL and AFLW competitions to Tasmania. A 19th club in Tasmania, for Tasmania, uniting Tasmania," outgoing AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan announced Wednesday in Hobart. "Today is about recognising that Tasmania belongs in the national football conversations.
"Today is an important and historic day, for football in Tasmania, for football in Australia, for footy supporters all around the country. Today we are here to ensure a foundation football state, filled with believers, supporters and gravel rash grit, get the opportunity to unite their state and unite behind a single cause."
It has been a tale of persistence for Tasmania which has had seven bids rejected since 1990 before finally getting over the line.
"This is a proud and ground-breaking moment in our history. Put simply, Tasmania will never be the same again," said state premier Jeremy Rockliff. "We have fought hard to deliver this and I couldn't be prouder to deliver our own team, that will take the field in our own colours, and sing our own song."
While the men's team is slated to join the competition in 2028, a proposed timeline for entry of a women's team is yet to be finalised.
It is expected the team will play at Hobart's Blundstone Arena and University of Tasmania (UTAS) Stadium in Launceston before the new facility's construction is completed in 2029. The team will play four matches a season at UTAS Stadium, which is due to be upgraded, also with the help of federal funding.
Details of the club's training and administration base are expected to be worked through in the coming months as will structures for state and community football. Later this year, the club's name, logo, guernsey and theme song will be selected by a committee.
Tasmania is set to be the first expansion club since Greater Western Sydney was awarded a licence in 2010 and entered the competition in 2012.
Information from AAP contributed to this report.