Tonga National Rugby League's appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport has been delayed ©Getty Images

Tonga National Rugby League's (TNRL) Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) appeal hearing over its expulsion from the sport's global governing body has been delayed because of the coronavirus crisis. 

International Rugby League (IRL) kicked out TNRL in February over governance issues.

The office of the Prime Minister of Tonga, the Tonga Sports Council, the Rugby Football League - the governing body in England - the Australian Rugby League Commission and the Rugby League Players Association had all raised concerns, which had led to TNRL being suspended in September 2019.

From there, its suspension was never lifted and IRL ultimately expelled the Tongan federation.

The TNRL Board appealed the decision, but it was upheld in March at a special meeting of the IRL membership by a majority of nine votes to five.

That prompted TNRL's appeal to CAS.

Tonga have been drawn in Group D for next year's Rugby League World Cup ©Getty Images
Tonga have been drawn in Group D for next year's Rugby League World Cup ©Getty Images

It had been due to be heard today, but that was not possible due to the coronavirus pandemic.

CAS is yet to reschedule the hearing, with it hoped it may be possible to hold it in December, either as an in-person hearing or via videolink.

A new Tongan governing body has been created since TNRL's expulsion from IRL - named Tonga Ma'a Tonga Rugby League (TMTRL).

TMTRL has applied for IRL membership, with that application needing to progress through a three-step review process involving the Asia Pacific Rugby League Board, the IRL Board and then finally the IRL membership.