The Tongan National Rugby League (TNRL) has been suspended by the RLIF after its fall out with players and coaches.
Tonga are due to play Great Britain in Hamilton on October 26, but the RLIF say they are hopeful of finding an interim arrangement with the Tongan government and key stakeholders to ensure the international calendar goes ahead as planned.
RLIF Chairman, Graeme Thompson said: “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, at the request of the Tongan government will work with the Tongan Sports Council to ensure that the forthcoming international calendar is not undermined.
“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.
“We now call on all parties to cooperate fully with the process to ensure a swift resolution.”
The Acting Tongan Prime Minister advised the RLIF that TNRL had lost the trust and support of its members, clubs and players.
New coach Garth Brennan resigned due to the political uncertainty, while high profile players Andrew Fifita and Jason Taumalolo have said they will not play while the current governing body are in place.
The RFL and the Australian Rugby League Commission also expressed concern about TNRL to the RLIF.