INTERNATIONAL SUMO FEDERATION REGULATIONS ON REFEREEING
Chapter 1 Judges
Judges shall be restricted to authorized International Sumo Federation (hereinafter referred to as ”IFS”) judges chosen by the IFS Board of Directors.
1. A judging panel shall consist of a head judge, a gyoji (referee) and four judges for a total of 6 members.
2. The head judge is entirely responsible for determining the result of a bout.
3. The gyoji assumes control of a bout from the time when the competitors mount the dohyo until they step down from the dohyo upon completion of the bout.
4. The duties of the four judges are to assist the head judge to ensure that there are no errors in the decision.
5. The shomen (front) judge shall also function as the timekeeper.
The judging manager (shinpan kanji) is responsible for the assignment of judges and gyoji in addition to all other general affairs pertaining to refereeing.
The clothing of judges shall be in accordance with the following regulations.
1. The head judge and judges shall wear suits, white shirts and ties. (If the International Sumo Federation designates a particular jacket, pants or tie, these shall be worn.)
2. The gyoji shall wear white pants, white shirt and a black bow tie.
When the head judge deems a judge or gyoji to be incompetent, he shall report that person to the Competition Committee. The Competition Committee’s Chairperson shall announce the decision regarding the matter after deliberation made among the Committee members.
Chapter 2 Refereeing Rules
1. The gyoji shall signal the tachiai (jump-off) by calling out ”Hakkeyoi!” (Get moving!) as soon as both competitors have simultaneously placed their hands on the dohyo and are completely still.
2. The competitors’ hands must touch down behind the shikiri-sen (starting lines).
3. If a competitor jumps off without waiting for the call, the gyoji must call out ”Matta!” (Wait!) and start the tachiai again.
1. If the head judge considers the tachiai to be incomplete, he shall immediately raise his right hand and stop the bout.
2. In the above case, the tachiai shall be begun again immediately.
3. The decision on whether a tachiai was correctly or incorrectly carried out shall be left to the head judge.
Unless otherwise provided herein, the following criteria determine the winner of a bout. (1) The competitor who moves his/her opponent out of the shobu-dawara (straw bales that form the circle of dohyo) (2) The competitor who forces any part of his/her opponent’s body, other than the soles of his/her feet, to touch the ground before the opponent does the same.
1. When the opponent is in the shinitai position (dead body, i.e., in a falling position where the competitor has completely lost his/her balance), the competitor shall not lose even either of the following occurs. (1) The competitor puts his/her hand to the ground a moment before the opponent lands. (2) The competitor steps out of the ring of shobu-dawara a moment in advance of the falling opponent.
2. The above Items (1) and (2) shall be known as the kabaite (protecting hand) and kabaiashi (protecting feet) respectively.
When a competitor has lifted his/her opponent clear of the ground and carries him/her forward out of the shobu-dawara, it shall not be a loss if his/her foot goes out first (okuri-ashi). If, however, the competitor steps out backward, it shall be considered a loss.
It shall not be a loss if the orikomi (front fold) of the mawashi (loincloth belt) touches the ground.
When a bout is won by one of the throwing techniques etc., the competitor who executes the throw does not lose if his/her instep turns over and touches the ground before the opponent lands.
After a deliberation by the judges, a competitor may be judged to have lost the bout in any of the following cases:
1. if the competitor is ruled to be unable to continue the bout through injury etc.
2. if the competitor is ruled to have used a kinjite (prohibited move)
3. if the competitor arbitrarily terminates the bout
4. if the competitor is ruled that he/she deliberately failed to jump-off to begin the bout
5. if the competitor does not abide by the judges’ instructions
6. if the maebukuro (front pouch part) of the mawashi comes undone and falls away during the bout
7. if the competitor does not appear in the dohyo-damari (ringside waiting area) after being called twice by the broadcasting staff.
When a competitor is injured during a bout, the gyoji must stop the bout immediately. The judges must consult Medical Committee members and respect their diagnosis in deciding whether or not the bout can be resumed.
1. The following moves are deemed kinjite (prohibited moves): (1) punching the opponent with a closed fist (2) poking the opponent with fingers (3) kicking the opponent in the chest or abdominal regions (4) taking hold of the opponent’s hair (5) taking hold of the opponent’s throat (6) taking hold of clothing other than the mawashi (i.e. underpants, leotard, bandages, support pads, etc. This rule shall apply hereafter.) twice or more (7) taking hold of the maebukuro or maetatemitsu (front vertical part of the mawasihi), or sticking fingers in at the side and pulling (8) bending back one or two of the opponent’s fingers (9) biting (10) slapping the opponent’s face with an arm outstretched more than a shoulder width.
2. When any kinjite is used, the gyoji must stop the bout immediately.
The gyoji must in all cases determine the winner at the instant the bout is over.
1. If the head judge or any of the judges has an objection or a doubt (hereinafter referred to as ”objections etc.”) to the gyoji’s decision regarding the result of a bout, he shall raise his right hand immediately and lodge objections etc.
2. The objections etc. must clearly point out a kimarite (officially recognized technique) and be stated plainly and concisely.
3. Once the gyoji has given the kachi-nanori (formal announcement of the winner), the decision is final and no objections etc. may be raised.
1. When an objections etc. has been raised, the whole judging panel must immediately move to the center of the dohyo and discuss the matter.
2. In their deliberation, the judges shall identify the reasons for the gyoji’s decision as a point of reference and take this into consideration.
3. A judge may abstain from the deliberation in situations where the bout ending move was hidden from the judge’s view, or for other legitimate reasons.
4. A judge must not express the validity of his own opinion so strongly as to impede the deliberation.
1. The head judge shall make the final judgment in a deliberation and shall announce a clear and concise explanation of the decision.
2. In principle, the decision shall be reached by a majority vote of the judges (excluding the gyoji ).
3. The head judge shall try to convince the minority of the validity of the majority decision.
When the head judge or one or more of the judges has confirmed that a bout has been decided but the gyoji does not call a decision and allows the bout to continue, the following measures shall be taken:
1. In the event of a fumikoshi (stepping out of the dohyo) etc., where there is a visible mark on the ground, the judge who observed the evidence shall raise his right hand to clearly signal the end of the bout. If this happens, the head judge shall instruct the gyoji to stop the bout and the final decision shall be made through deliberation among the judges.
2. In case no visible mark is confirmed on the janome (circle of swept sand immediately outside shobu-dawara) as an evidence to decide the winner, an objections shall be lodged at the end of the bout, and the decision shall be reached through deliberation.
If the gyoji mistakenly calls out ”Shobu atta!” (The contest has been decided!) when a bout is in progress, the head judge or any of the judges shall lodge an objection and a torinaoshi (re-match) shall be declared following a deliberation.
1. If a bout goes on for over three minutes without coming to a conclusion, the bout shall be stopped and a torinaoshi shall be ordered.
2. At a signal given by the timekeeper, the head judge shall instruct the gyoji to stop the bout.
Chapter 3 Duties of the Judges
Bearing in mind the strong impact, which their words and actions have on the competitors and the general audience, the judges shall strive to be fair and neutral in their decisions, and not show the slightest sign of hesitation or emotion.
1. In addition to judging and making decisions, judges should offer guidance and advice to the competitors.
2. A judge must immediately admonish a competitor whose speech or conduct, while on the dohyo or in the dohyo-damari, are inappropriate.
The judges shall be responsible for maintaining the dohyo in good condition to ensure that bouts be carried out safely, and they must immediately take corrective measures if necessary.
The gyoji must endeavor to bring the two competitors and himself into complete synchronization at the tachiai.
1. When a mawashi becomes loose during a bout, the gyoji shall call out ”Matta!” (Wait!) to halt the bout temporarily. Both competitors must freeze in their positions (kumite) until the bout is restarted.
2. The gyoji shall not order the temporary halt of a bout during offensive moves of competitors.
3. After tightening the mawashi and confirming with the judges that neither competitor has shifted from his/her kumite, the gyoji shall place his hands on the backs of both competitors, call out ”Hikimasuyo! Hikimasuyo!” (Get ready. Get ready) and restart the bout by lightly tapping their backs and calling ”Hakkeyoi!”
When a competitor does one of the following, the gyoji must order him/her to let go immediately. This is not the case if it is not possible to give the order at that time.
1. gripping tatemawashi (rear vertical part of the mawashi) or orikomi
2. grasping clothing other than the mawashi (when it is the first time)
3. having the opponent in the ’gassho’ hold (both arms around the opponent with the hands clasped together)
The actions of the gyoji are as follows:
1. When the competitors mount the dohyo and carry out the ’chirichozu’ (hand-cleaning ritual), the gyoji shall position himself at the rear (muko-jomen) of the circle in front of the tokudawara (privilege bale that is set a little beyond the main circle) (hereinafter referred to as ’the basic position’).
2. At the time when the competitors move to the center of the dohyo, the gyoji shall take two steps forward from the basic position.
3. When the competitors go down into the sonkyo (squatting) position, the gyoji shall confirm that they have synchronized their breathing and call out ”Kamaete!” (Take positions!), and take one and a half steps backward to stand with legs apart. He then calls out ”Te o tsuite. Matta nashi!” (Hands down. Waiting time is over!) and slightly bending his knees, with arms stretched out a little and palms facing inward, initiates the tachiai and starts the bout with the call ”Hakkeyoi!”
4. If a tachiai is not achieved, the above procedure shall be repeated.
5. The gyoji shall call out ”Madayo, Madayo” (Not yet. Not yet) to the competitor who places his/her hands on the dohyo before the opponent to hold back a tachiai. On the other hand, the gyoji shall urge the other competitor to place both hands on the dohyo by calling out ”Te o tsuite. Te o tsuite.” Upon confirming that both competitors have placed their hands on the dohyo, the gyoji shall complete the tachiai by calling out ”Hakkeyoi.”
6. When the bout has begun, the gyoji shall urge the competitors with the calls ”Nokotta!” (Hang in there!) and ”Hakkeyoi!” The call ”Nokotta!” shall be used when the competitors are in motion, whilst ”Hakkeyoi” is used when both are at a standstill.
7. At the moment when the winner is determined, the gyoji shall call out ”Shobu atta!” and indicate the winner by pointing his hand to the east or west side of the dohyo.
8. Before the kachi-nanori, the gyoji shall return to the basic position. After having both competitors stand and bow to each other by calling out ”Rei!” (Bow!), he shall call out ”Higashi no kachi” (East side’s victory) or ”Nishi no kachi” (West side’s victory) while pointing his hand at the winner, who remains in the sonkyo posture. If there has been a judges’ deliberation, however, the kachi-nanori shall not be given until all the judges have returned to their assigned positions and an explanation has been given by the head judge.
The gyoji must observe the following requirements while the bout is in progress.
1. He must ensure that he does not step on any of the shobu-dawara, or the janome.
2. He must endeavor to avoid turning his back to the shomen.
3. His movements must be quick, so as not to get in the way of the competitors.
4. He must endeavor to be in the best location, posture and angle for making a good decision.
At the beginning and end of the team competition, the gyoji shall stand in the basic position, have all the competitors of the east and west line up and give the command ”Rei!” (Bow!), to have them make a standing bow.
When the judges enters or exits, they shall line up in their assigned places in the dohyo-damari and bow on the gyoji’s command.
The judges shift change over in the following manner:
1. The current judges shall stand up and bow from their respective positions around the dohyo on the gyoji ’s command, after which they move to the assigned positions in the dohyo-damari.
2. The judges for the next shift shall line up in the dohyo-damari, bows on the gyoji’s command as specified in the preceding item, and they then move into their individual seats.
3. After the movement specified in (1) and (2), the gyoji for the next shift shall give the command for a standing bow; and the changeover is completed.
4. When giving the command ”Rei!” for the bow as described in (1) and (3) above, the gyoji shall stand in the basic position.
Chapter 4 Revisions to the Regulations on Refereeing
Recommended revisions to the Regulations on Refereeing shall be discussed by the IFS Competitions Committee and sent to the Board of Directors for final approval.
These regulations shall come into effect as of 1 April 1997.
Revised Supplementary Provision
These regulations shall come into effect as of 22 October 1998.
Revised Supplementary Provision
These regulations shall come into effect as of 24 June 2002.