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Nominations have been completed for members of the new Tonga Ma’a Tonga Rugby League (TMTRL) board, which will now be elected by the members in general meeting.

Representatives from the rugby league clubs have ensured compliance with governance recommendations approved by the clubs following a broad consultation with Tongan rugby league instigated by the sport’s governing body, International Rugby League.

The meeting will confirm the adoption of a new TMTRL constitution, elect an independent chair and finance director, as well as the election of two player directors (already confirmed as Sika Manu and Will Hopoate) and five club directors, one of whom will serve as deputy chair.

Once the board has been ratified, it is expected to apply for membership of IRL.

Current TMTRL President, Mr Saia Penitani, said: “We at TMTRL look forward to our AGM on Friday where we will elect and appoint our new board of directors and implement a new governance structure for our organisation.

“We are grateful to the Implementation Committee for their support and assistance throughout this process. We congratulate the four nominated candidates for the two independent Director positions and thank them for their willingness to be a part of our organisation.

“We, the club membership in Tonga, have nominated from amongst ourselves individuals who we think would serve the whole of Tongan rugby league best on the board. All our nominees have been long standing supporters of rugby league in Tonga.

“We thank Kristian Woolf and his team for their support of this process and we look forward to fielding a strong and experienced team at international level should TMTRL be granted membership of IRL. We are excited as we see this process as a leap forward for rugby league in Tonga and for renewed relations based on unity between everyone involved with Tongan rugby league.”

Further, media reports in Tonga on Wednesday 13 May suggested that the IRL has been issued an injunction by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) following an appeal lodged with CAS by Tonga National Rugby League (TNRL), the former governing body of rugby league in Tonga, which was expelled from IRL in March 2020.

IRL has confirmed these reports are categorically untrue. It has also confirmed that TNRL’s appeal, which IRL will contest at CAS, is against the international federation alone.