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Asia Pacific Rugby League has received an application for full membership from Tonga Ma’a Tonga Rugby League. The application will now be reviewed by the APRL board and then progress to the board of International Rugby League (IRL) before being sent to the IRL full members for final approval.

The TMTRL application signals the dissolution of the implementation committee which was formed by three members of the Tongan rugby league community who volunteered to assist an APRL representative to facilitate Tonga’s smooth return to the world stage as an IRL member.

IRL Global Operations Manager Danny Kazandjian said; “I would like to sincerely thank the members of the implementation committee, Gareth Holmes, Konrad Hurrell, Suliana Mone and Ikani Taliai.

“They managed to bring together several parties who had an interest in Tongan rugby league and helped them form a coherent group, under mutually acceptable rules, structure and leadership.

“The IC achieved that with great professionalism and skill whilst working under close media scrutiny, especially in Tonga.”

The previous member has appealed against its expulsion to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. IRL has responded fully and will keep it under consideration whilst assessing the new application.