Tonga National Rugby League has had its membership to the RLIF suspended following their ongoing dispute with players.
A unanimous decision was reached after the Acting Tongan Prime Minister advised the RLIF that TNRL had lost the trust and support of its members, clubs and players.
The RLIF received expressions of concern about Tonga National Rugby League from other full members, the Rugby Football League and the Australian Rugby League Commission.
It comes after the RLPA provided the RLIF with a list of Tonga’s top stars who are not willing to represent Tonga under the current administration.
Players have already threatened to boycott the upcoming Test against Great Britain, which is now in even further doubt after the latest developments.
In a statement, the RLIF said: “The RLIF Board recognised that it needed to weigh the rights and entitlement of membership against its wider primary obligations to foster, develop, promulgate, govern and administer the game of rugby league throughout the world.
“Based upon the volume and magnitude of representations received the Board decided that it needed to intervene immediately.”
RLIF Chairman, Graeme Thompson added: “The RLIF has received representations and concerns from the Office of the Prime Minister of Tonga, the Tongan Sports Council, the RFL, the ARLC, the RLPA on behalf of leading players and from concerned groups in the Kingdom of Tonga.
“In view of the considerable evidence that the interests of international rugby league were not being best served at this time. The RLIF Board voted unanimously that the TNRL’s membership be suspended with immediate effect while these matters are properly investigated.
“The RLIF stresses that the suspension of TNRL is not an expulsion and is intended to provide a period of stability, while the matters raised by the various stakeholders can be properly and fully investigated.”