MEDIA RELEASE: “The Government wishes to clarify its position regarding the impasse between the International Rugby League (IRL) and the TNRL.”

18 May, 2020

The Government is deeply concerned with the lack of consultation by the IRL leading up to the expulsion of the TNRL and subsequently with the recommendation to establish an Implementation Committee (IC). The Government holds strong reservations regarding the IC including the appropriateness of the proposed governance structure, the composition of its membership and the institutional arrangement.

Whilst, the IRL has corresponded with the Government, we feel that this is has not been a constructive, effective nor professional manner in which to have engaged a Member Country regarding a matter of national and international significance. The Government is not confident that the IRL will be neutral and unbiased in the establishment of the IC.

Furthermore, the Tonga Courts have adjudicated and determined the legal national representative of the Rugby League code in the Kingdom and for international representation. Therefore, any attempt to disregard and defy the decision of Tonga’s sovereign legal system is not appreciated.

Furthermore, Government recognizes the proceedings initiated before the Court of Sports Arbitration by the TNRL and will abide by any decision of the Court. The Government does not intend to engage any further with the International Rugby League, pending the decision of the Court.


Issued by the: The Prime Minister’s Office, P.O. Box 62, Nuku’alofa, Tonga. Tel: (676) 24 644 /24615/7401351 Fax: (676) 23 888; For media enquiries- Email: Website: