Sumo's top-ranked referee will resign over a sexual harassment scandal, the sport's governing body said Saturday following an extraordinary meeting of its board of directors.

Shikimori Inosuke will not referee any further matches after receiving a three-tournament suspension, the Japan Sumo Association said at a press conference on the eve of the New Year Grand Tournament. The directors handed down the suspension at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan, and will formally accept Shikimori's resignation when his ban is lifted following May's Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.

Shikimori had apologized to the association for repeatedly kissing a teenage referee and touching him on the chest while intoxicated during a regional tour of Okinawa last month. The junior referee has declined to file charges.

According to senior executives, Shikimori, the association's sole head referee, has been involved in previous incidents due to excessive drinking. He told the panel he had no memory of harassing the junior referee.