Former komusubi Abi was suspended for three tournaments and had his pay halved for five months for breaking guidelines aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, the Japan Sumo Association announced.
The JSA’s board of directors, however, declined to accept the 26-year-old’s resignation over breaking the rules at the recently completed July Grand Sumo Tournament at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan. Instead, they essentially suspended him for six months, reports The Japan Times.
“He was behaving in a frivolous fashion when so many association members were enduring a very cramped lifestyle,” a member of the compliance committee said.
In response to the coronavirus outbreak, the JSA took the unprecedented move of holding its March tourney behind closed doors, and followed that by canceling its May tourney.
Currently there are six grand tournaments a year, held in each of the odd-numbered months.
Abi’s offer to resign demonstrated he understood how serious his infractions were, and for that reason, a suspension was considered to be an appropriate punishment.