The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed Tonga National Rugby League's (TNRL) appeal against its expulsion from the global governing body.
The TNRL was expelled from the International Rugby League (IRL) in March last year, after a long-running battle over governance, money and a threatened player boycott.
A two-day hearing was held in December, with CAS confirming on Tuesday the resolution of the IRL's Board to expel the TNRL from its membership had been upheld.
The panel of three arbitrators from the USA, Australia and Canada, concluded the expulsion was justified] after the "TNRL's refusal to cooperate with or to participate in the IRL's investigation and consultation processes."
The panel said the TNRL did not comply with its membership duties and failed "to consider or adopt any of the good governance recommendations made to it".
The IRL will now press ahead with plans to appoint a new governing body to represent Tongan rugby league.
The Asia-Pacific Rugby League Confederation has already endorsed the bid by Tonga Ma'a Tonga Rugby League (TMTRL), which has the support of the current Tongan players and coach.
A spokesperson declined to comment on the CAS ruling, saying the matter was dealt with by the IRL.
Tonga must have a recognised governing body with the IRL in order to compete at the Rugby League World Cup in England later this year.