Tonga Ma’a Tonga Rugby League has formally applied to become a member of International Rugby League
The application was received by Asia Pacific Rugby League and will be reviewed before being moved on to the IRL.
TMTRL have applied to represent the Kingdom of Tonga after the previous board, Tonga National Rugby League, was suspended as a result of disputes with players and disagreements surrounding finances.
The previous member has appealed against its expulsion to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
As a result, Tonga’s famous victories over Great Britain and Australia last year came courtesy of an Invitational side.
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.”
Meanwhile, the Rugby League European Federation’s Middle East Africa section has received three applications from African nations – Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria – to move from observer to affiliate status.
Kazandjian said: “It’s encouraging to see the sport gaining traction in west Africa and when a member receives affiliate status on that continent it will be historic as it allows them to enter into the World Cup qualification process.