The Japan Sumo Association will hold a test meet next month in Tokyo instead of the Summer Grand Tournament to decide on the rankings for the Nagoya basho in July.
Following an extraordinary board meeting Wednesday, the JSA decided to put wrestlers through a trial competition from May 8 for the usual 15 days at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.
The meet, where the JSA will gauge wrestlers’ form in drafting its banzuke for this summer’s Nagoya tourney, will be open to the public with free admission.
“We apologize for not being able to organize the May tourney as originally scheduled,” JSA Chairman Hanaregoma said. “We can only ask for the fans’ understanding by putting good sumo on display.”
The Spring Grand Tournament in March at Osaka was canceled in early February, following the explosion of a match-fixing scandal that saw a total of 22 coaches and wrestlers forced into retirement last week.
Hanaregoma said the JSA needs absolute closure on the scandal before it can go back to hosting tournaments like they were in January.
“The case needs to be solved and there are more people who merit punishment. We need prevention measures in place,” he said. “Only then can we start again and right now, we don’t feel like we’re there yet.”
Stablemaster Tanigawa was the only one who refused to retire by the Tuesday deadline set by the JSA, whose special investigation panel found 23 guilty of match fixing.
Public broadcaster NHK said it will decide whether to air the upcoming test meet after having talks with the JSA.