Tonga's government says it will no longer engage with the International Rugby League (IRL) while their dispute is before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The Tongan National Rugby League was expelled from the IRL in March, amid prolonged disputes over governance, control, management, and the inability to field a team for the World Cup 9s.
Not long after, the IRL, which is the global governing body for the game, recieved an expression of interest from Tonga Ma'a Tonga Rugby League (TMTRL) to become the recognised federation from Tonga.
An IRL-appointed implementation committee is working with the TMTRL as it prepares to apply for membership.
However, in a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office today, Tonga's government said it held reservations about the implementation committee, and was concerned with the lack of consultation by the IRL.
"The Government is deeply concerned with the lack of consultation by the IRL leading up to the expulsion of the TNRL and the recommendation to establish an Implementation Committee (IC)," it read.
"The Government holds strong reservations regarding the IC, including the appropriateness of the proposed governance structure, the composition of its membership and the institutional arrangement."
"Whilst the IRL has corresponded with the government, we feel that this has not been a constructive, effective, nor professional manner in which to have engaged a Member Country regarding a matter of national and international significance."
"The Government is not confident that the IRL will be neutral and unbiased in the establishment of the Implementation Committee."
The TNRL filed an appeal with the International Court of Arbitration for Sport in March, in a final bid to remain the governing body for the sport in the Kingdom.
In its statement, the government acknowledged the proceedings before the court, saying it would abide by any ruling.
"The Government does not intend to engage any further with the International Rugby League, pending the decision of the Court."