An Implementation Committee to find directors for a new governing body for rugby league in Tonga, which will then seek to regain membership of International Rugby League (IRL), has been formed.
IRL confirmed earlier this month that Tonga National Rugby League (TNRL) had been expelled, having suspended the national body in October after governance concerns were raised by the office of the Prime Minister of Tonga, the Tonga Sports Council, the Rugby Football League, the Australian Rugby League Commission and the Rugby League Players Association.
The TNRL Board lodged an appeal last month and recently appeared at a special general meeting of IRL to present its case.
The IRL Board decided to expel TNRL by a majority of nine votes to five, however.
A four-person Implementation Committee has now been formed to find directors for a new governing body for rugby league in Tonga.
"Over the past six months, IRL has sought the opinions and views of the various constituencies that make up the Tongan rugby league community, through surveys, face-to-face and phone interviews and a consultation phase," IRL global operations manager Danny Kazandjian said.
"The response shaped a consensus for the next steps to stabilise Tongan rugby league.
"The suggestions IRL originally made to the previous governing body in December, were a result of those stakeholder interventions and intended to strengthen governance of the sport in the country.
"The bulk of Tongan clubs who participated in the consultation have now requested that IRL works closely with them to help them to immediately enact the recommendations.
"The first of those recommendations was the formation of the implementation committee, which is now coordinating efforts between the various parties."
Tonga Sports Council chairman Ikani Taliai is on the committee and is joined by compatriot Suliana Mone, a constitutional lawyer.
Player Konrad Hurrell has been included to represent the Tongan national team, while Gareth Holmes is set to be the Asia-Pacific Rugby League representative.
"The implementation committee is now inviting candidates of unimpeachable integrity and the highest ethical standards to apply for the roles of independent chair and independent finance director," Holmes said.
"Once the roles are filled the new organisation will be in position to prepare and present its application for membership of IRL."
Tonga are set to feature at the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England, having earned automatic qualification as semi-finalists in 2017.