World Rugby said Friday it had agreed on a rescue package for the financially strapped Tonga Rugby Union (TRU) designed to address long-standing governance concerns.
The TRU revealed last month that it had been placed in receivership with debts of 300,000 pa’anga (US$130,000) and could not afford to pay staff salaries.
It said that as a result, World Rugby had suspended a 600,000 pound (US$850,000) grant due to be paid in mid-March and was sending a delegation to the Pacific island nation to find out what was happening.
World Rugby said it had held “positive and constructive” meetings in Nuku’alofa with the TRU and the Tongan government.
“(We) have agreed a package of reforms designed to address ongoing governance concerns within the union and support the future sustainable growth of rugby in Tonga,” it said in a statement.
World Rugby did not provide financial details of the rescue plan but its rugby committee member John Jeffrey described it a “a prudent support package”.
It includes a 10-year funding deal between World Rugby, the TRU and the government to be carried out under good governance criteria.
The TRU’s high-performance unit will also be closely monitored, a national rugby academy reopened and efforts made to reinvigorate rugby in the outer islands.