Sumo tournament cancelled as corruption scandal escalates

Fourteen wrestlers and coaches are alleged to have been involved in corruption, and the sport’s governing body, the Japan Sumo Association, confirmed on Sunday that the March 13-27 tournament in Osaka would become the first event to be axed since 1946. “Until we can completely eliminate corruption in the sport we cannot have sumo taking place in the ring,” said Hanaregoma, the Association’s chairman, according to the Wall Street Journal. “We will do everything in our power and will act swiftly to uncover the facts surrounding the scandal as soon as possible.” An independent committee is currently questioning the 14 suspects and has asked them to hand over their mobile phones and bank books for the investigation, which is expected to take up to three months. By Saturday, two wrestlers and a coach among the 14 had admitted to fixing contests. Prime Minister Naoto Kan said in parliament on Thursday that if the allegations are proved to be true, “it is a very serious betrayal of the people”.

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