International Rugby League (IRL) can confirm that an expression of interest from Tonga Ma’a Tonga Rugby League (TMTRL) to be the recognised member of the international federation representing the Kingdom of Tonga has been received. This is the only expression of interest received.
As a part of the organisation’s proposed new governance structure, player representation on the board has been introduced and current international player Will Hopoate and former Tonga captain Sika Manu have been elected by the national team squad to take up those positions.
Will Hopoate stating “I am excited and grateful to be a part of the new Tonga Rugby League board and striving to help the Tongan National team progress as well as building Rugby League in Tonga.”
Sika Manu added “I’m very honoured to be part of the new Tongan Rugby League board and excited to help with the progression of the Tongan Rugby League team and also the development of Rugby League in Tonga.”
IRL Global Operations Manager Danny Kazandjian has welcomed the progress saying;
“The Implementation Committee (IC) has worked diligently and continues to support TMTRL to develop their organisation and to complete their application.
“IRL CEO Nigel Wood has also been in contact with Prime Minister, Hon Pohiva Tu’ionetoa, and IRL would like to thank him and his government for their support and encouragement of this process. The government has committed to working closely with IRL to see the restoration of Tonga to the international rugby league community.
“Despite the world-wide constraints due to COVID-19 we are confident that the implementation committee will be able to conclude this process quickly and the new board representing the whole Tongan rugby League community will take up its position and submit their application for membership of International Rugby League.
“We look forward to seeing rugby league being played in the kingdom and the Tongan national team back in action as soon as circumstances permit.”