Tonga Ma‘a says support for TRNL body could jeapordise country’s future in world game

Kuo pehē mei he Tonga Ma’a Tonga’, ‘a ia ko e sino pule fo’ou ‘eni ne toki fokotu’u ‘i he ta’u kuo ‘osi’ ‘o kehe ia mei he Poate Liiki Fakafonua ‘a Tonga’, ko e feinga ko ia ‘a e Poate Liiki ‘a Tonga’ ke ne kei pule’i ‘a e keimi’ ‘i Tonga’ ‘oku ta’efakalao ia pea ne ‘osi faitu’utu’uni ki ai ‘a e fakamaau’anga lahi’. Ko e fakamuimui taha ‘eni ‘i he ngaahi fefa’uhi kuo malama hake hili ha tangi ‘a e Poate’ osi hono kapusi ia ‘e he Liiki Fakavaha’apule’anga’. Ne toe ‘oatu foki mei he ‘Eiki Palēmia ‘o Tonga ha tohi ‘o ne poupou ki he Poate Liiki pea mo kole ki he Liiki Fakavaha’apule’anga’ ke fakafoki mai e mēmipa ‘a Tonga ‘i he sino fakavaha’apule’anga’.

Any attempt to declare the Tonga National Rugby League as the governing body of the game in Tonga is unlawful.

That is the latest salvo in the ongoing struggle over the future of League in the kingdom.

Saia Penitani of the Tonga Ma’a Tonga Rugby League Inc said the Supreme Court had declared in October last year that there was no law giving the TNRL the right to solely govern rugby league in Tonga.

Penitani’s comments come ahead of a hearing later this month at which full members of the international body will decide whether to uphold the expulsion of TNRL.

As Kaniva News reported last week, Tonga’s Prime Minister has written and asked IRL and its member countries to readmit TNRL to the international body’s membership.  

“That we seek a review and lifting by the board of IRL and its member countries of the expulsion of the TNRL,” the Prime Minister said in a copy of his letter seen by Kaniva.

As we reported last month, the TRNL is appealing its expulsion.

A decision to reverse the expulsion of TNRL would require a 75% agreement of the full membership.

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The expulsion came after a three  month investigation of the TNRL.

“TNRL is a duly registered body as is TMTRL; the crucial difference is the membership of TMTRL far exceeds that of TNRL,” Penitani said.

“We question the legitimacy of any endorsement of TNRL in light of the clear fact that in doing so it promotes the interests of the minority in TNRL at the expense of the interests of the majority in TMTRL, our rugby league players and rugby league in Tonga.”

Claims by the TRNL that it wanted to foster inclusivity and harmony appeared to be contradicted  by statements that the Tongan government was advocating for the TNRL whose support consisted of a small minority of rugby league clubs.

“To foster harmony is to cede with grace to the will of the majority, that is the will of the majority of clubs and of fans who support our international players, players who have repeatedly made clear their refusal to work with or play under TNRL,” Penitani said.

“Any insistence on dictating that TNRL is the governing body is blatant interference that could jeopardises Tonga’s future participation in the rugby league international community and competitions.

“It is entirely the prerogative of the RLIF to decide who the rugby league member Federation in Tonga is.”

The main points

  • Any attempt to declare the Tonga National Rugby League as the governing body of the game in Tonga is unlawful.
  • That is the latest salvo in the ongoing struggle over the future of League in the kingdom.

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