• Kyodo News


A sumo reform committee agreed Thursday to propose to the scandal-hit Japan Sumo Association a set of eight countermeasures aimed at preventing a recurrence of match fixing.

In the day’s meeting at Ryogoku Kokugikan, the committee decided to propose bringing back the system that keeps wrestlers who got injured in a tournament from falling in the banzuke rankings even if they miss all of the next tourney.

Yoshinobu Shimamura, head of the committee established a month ago, believes a lack of the system is one of the reasons why wrestlers are afraid of picking up injuries and have eventually rigged bouts to save their rankings.

The system was introduced in the 1972 New Year Grand Sumo Tournament but was abolished after the Kyushu meet in November 2003 because vague rules about categorizing wrestlers as injured caused many to sit out.

In sumo, only wrestlers in the top two makuuchi and juryo divisions receive monthly salaries. Sumo sources say the main reason behind match fixing by many juryo wrestlers is fear of being demoted to the third-tier makushita division.

On March 9, the reform committee came up with six countermeasures in its first meeting, including strengthening of the monitoring system.

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