- Tripartite agreement will be implemented by a Joint Management Committee representing World Rugby, the Tonga Rugby Union and the Tonga Government
- Governance and operating structures will be overhauled and all agreed objectives and activities will be closely monitored
- Protection of High Performance Programme key for establishment of Tonga’s fortunes on the world stage as funding reinstated
- Agreement brings certainty for all parties, including players, team management and fans
World Rugby, the Tonga Rugby Union and the Tonga Government can confirm that they have signed a tripartite agreement and established a Joint Management Committee that will oversee the implementation of best-practice governance and high performance programmes within the Tonga union.
World Rugby suspended funding to the union in May pending a full review and resolution of a number of governance and administrative concerns that were significantly hampering the union’s ability to nurture the sport in Tonga, including a number of outstanding domestic legal matters and a lack of appropriately audited financial statements.
Following extensive consultation between all parties, the tripartite agreement was signed. At the heart of the agreement are joint objectives, key performance indicators and a roadmap for the operating structure of the union and its high performance programme through to 31 December, 2024. This will be overseen by the new Joint Management Committee. Importantly, the agreement also outlines the funding arrangements to ensure that Tongan rugby can perform to its best, on and off the field.
Another key component agreed by all parties is the advertisement for a permanent in-country based CEO position, to be selected and approved by representatives on a newly-established Joint Management Committee which features all three parties along with representation from Pacific Rugby Players, with the position to be funded by World Rugby high performance and development investment.
Oceania Rugby, the regional association for the Pacific, and Pacific Rugby Players, the regional representative body of International Rugby Players, have been fully consulted and welcome the agreement.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “The Tonga Rugby Union’s challenges are well documented, and we have been working with all parties to identify and agree a roadmap to return Tonga to where it deserves to be, on and off the field. Through this tripartite agreement, the conditions, expectations and framework has been set to do just that and I would like to thank the Tongan Government for their understanding and support.”
Tonga Rugby Union President Siaosi Vailahi Pohiva said: “I am pleased to sign the tripartite agreement and am positive this will help develop rugby in Tonga. I look forward to begin the journey with World Rugby on this rugby venture.”
Pacific Rugby Players welcomes the important development, which will provide certainty for Tonga national team players and management after a long period of uncertainty.
Pacific Rugby Players Chairman Hale T Pole said: “We have worked hard for many months alongside World Rugby, TRU and the Tongan Government to keep players interests at the forefront while we find solutions. PRP being part of the Joint Management Committee going forward is a significant step for the players and we will play our part in shaping a positive next chapter for Tonga rugby.”