A new governing body will have to take charge of rugby league in Tonga after the Tonga National Rugby League (TNRL) was expelled from International Rugby League.
Following a dramatic fallout last year between the governing body and players, Tonga were pulled from the World Cup 9s and the international series including the Great Britain tour.
A deal was struck between the players and the organisers which saw them compete under the banner of Tonga Invitational, where they secured famous wins over both Australia and Great Britain.
The TNRL has been suspended since October, but their permanent expulsion from International Rugby League has now been confirmed following a Special General Meeting of the IRL board.
An IRL statement said: “TNRL had appealed the original decision and appeared at the SGM to present their case to the membership. The membership heard and were able to question testimony from TNRL and from IRL investigators before voting to confirm support for the Board’s original decision.
“IRL now expects, in due course, an application for membership to be received from the Tongan rugby league community.”
Tonga’s next scheduled test match against New Zealand in June has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.