Tonga National Rugby League has had its membership suspended by the RLIF as the dispute between players and the governing body continues.
The Tongan Prime Minister recently advised the RLIF that TNRL had “lost the trust and support of its members, clubs and players”.
The decision also comes after the Rugby League Players’ Association provided the RLIF with a list of players who would refuse to play under the current board, including top stars Andrew Fifita and Jason Taumalolo.
Players have already threatened to boycott the nations’ upcoming international games, including their test with Great Britain.
In a statement, the RLIF said: “The RLIF Board recognised that it needed to weigh the rights and entitlement of membership against its wider primary obligations to foster, develop, promulgate, govern and administer the game of rugby league throughout the world.
“Based upon the volume and magnitude of representations received the Board decided that it needed to intervene immediately.”
RLIF Chairman, Graeme Thompson added: “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 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.”