IRL Global Operations Manager Danny Kazandjian said:
“We understand that the active Tongan rugby league community has been working closely with one another to create an organisation that will best represent it, at home and internationally. The nomination of Sika Manu and Will Hopoate last week was a good sign of that cooperation, and it’s pleasing to see further signs of collaboration from the dozens of clubs in the kingdom.
“An Implementation Committee has worked to bring together the various elements of the Tongan rugby league community and will help facilitate an application by an organisation for IRL membership in due course. The IRL will then assess any application against our membership rules and will make the decision on whether to admit a Tongan member to our register. We appreciate the supportive correspondence from the Tongan government, which has committed to working closely with the IRL to restore Tonga to the international rugby league community.”
Implementation Committee member Ikani Taliai will attend a meeting on Friday where the clubs will consider the results of the process to recruit two independent directors. The candidates for chair are Semisi Sika, a current MP and former Acting Prime Minister of Tonga, and Lord Fakafanua who is currently the Speaker of Parliament. The candidates for the finance director are John Paul Chapman and Ipolito Lasalo, both successful businessmen who have held prominent directorships in the public and private sector.
Konrad Hurrell, one of the four members of the IC, welcomed the latest developments:
“It is so encouraging to see the quality and the experience of the candidates for the new Board. This process has been a fantastic opportunity for the whole Tongan rugby league community to have their say, elect a new and really talented board who will lead the whole of a united Tongan rugby league forward.”