(TOKYO) -- The Japan Sumo Association announced Sunday it would cancel the Grand Tournament in Osaka next month for the first time in 65 years.
The announcement came just days after match-fixing allegations rocked the sumo world, and shook fans' confidence in a national sport already plagued by scandal.
“This has created a huge black eye for the sport’s storied history. We sincerely apologize to our fans,” Sumo Association Chairman Hanaregoma said, as he bowed deeply at a press conference.
Cancellation of the upcoming tournament marks the first time a sumo match has been called off because of a scandal. Back in 1946, the summer tournament was cancelled after repairs to a sumo arena damaged during World War II couldn’t be completed in time.
Allegations of match-fixing first surfaced last week, after police found text messages orchestrating the fights on phones confiscated from wrestlers. Fourteen wrestlers and their elders stand accused of orchestrating the matches, and three have confessed to doing so.
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