In a major step for community football in Tasmania, the Southern Football League (SFL) have become the first league to put pen to paper on an affiliation agreement with AFL Tasmania.

After thorough consultation with leagues and associations, AFL Tasmania yesterday distributed the final affiliation agreement to all leagues, statewide.

SFL are the first to formally confirm an affiliation agreement with AFL Tasmania, that  will see the two organisations work closer together than ever before. The affiliation affords the SFL a suite of benefits  and ensures two way accountability between both parties. It builds a strong foundation for greater collaboration and new initiatives for a strong and sustainable community football. It will also see the formation of the southern hub which will provide services for community football in the south of the state with dedicated staffing funded by the AFL. The hub is a central administration body to service the affiliated leagues in the region. It will reduce the burden placed on volunteers at all levels and through affiliation will look at providing greater services for leagues and members at all levels.

It is hoped that the affiliation agreement will be the first of many to be struck with leagues and associations across Tasmania. The hub structures being rolled out in the south will also be put in place in the north and north west regions, pending affiliation.

AFL Tasmania CEO Trisha Squires said the signing of the affiliation agreement was a momentous step forward.

“It is fantastic to have an affiliation agreement in place with the SFL and to formalise a really promising partnership and get the ball rolling on the establishment of hubs.

“We need a united game and fostering partnerships and collaboration between the game’s various bodies is incredibly important in growing and strengthening footy in Tasmania,” Squires explained.

“The SFL are the first to sign and we anticipate other leagues and associations will also look to sign on soon. We are really excited to see league’s strike agreements and to launch the hubs in all three regions.

“I think we will all look back at affiliation and the start of the hubs as a significant development for Tassie footy. We will see the growth of services the hub will provide over time and that will ultimately improve community football.

“The hubs have amazing potential to assist everyone’s football experience – from the administrator to the volunteer to the participant. It is an exciting step for Tassie footy.”