The National Rugby League (NRL) has advised the Tongan National Rugby League (TNRL) that that their invitation to participate in the Downer Rugby League World Cup 9s at Bankwest Stadium has been withdrawn.
The NRL supports the decision of the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) to suspend the TNRL from membership in the international federation.
The NRL’s decision was made after the Tongan Government wrote to the RLIF advising that the current board had lost the trust and support of its members, Tongan clubs and players.
The Rugby League Players Association (RLPA) has written to the RLIF to provide a list of Tongan players who have made themselves unavailable to play for a team overseen by the TNRL board. The players, who include many of the best Tongan players, have indicated to the RLPA they would make themselves available for a team overseen by an alternate governance structure.
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said he was working with the RLIF to find an interim arrangement which would see a full strength team representing Tonga at the 9s Tournament.
"We want the best Tongan team playing in the World 9s. It is clear the current board does not have the support of its national government or its best players," he said.
“We are working with the RLIF to recognise an alternate structure that provides an opportunity for Tonga to field its best team. We support Tonga’s NRL players and want to see them representing their great rugby league nation.”
The NRL’s decision to withdraw TNRL’s invitation to participate in the 9s Tournament has the support of the RLIF.