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Entries in Sumo wrestling (3)

Monday
Feb072011

Sumo Tournament Canceled Amid Match-Fixing Allegations

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(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. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb062011

Sumo Wrestling Tournament Canceled Over Match-Fixing Allegations

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TOKYO) -- The only time that Japan's sumo wrestling association has canceled a tournament was World War II. But on Sunday, the group announced that it would be canceling next month's scheduled Grand Sumo Tournament, which was to be held in Osaka, because of allegations that certain matches had been pre-determined.

The organization's president spoke Sunday saying that the 15-day tournament could not proceed with a black cloud of impropriety hanging overhead. He made it clear that until all doubt of cheating in the sport was erased, matches would not continue.

It is the first time in 65 years the sport has canceled an event. The last time was in 1946 when a large venue was renovated after suffering damage during World War II.

The Sumo Association also apologized for any embarrassment caused to Japan's national sport.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb032011

Three Sumo Wrestlers Admit to Fixing Matches in Japan

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TOKYO) -- A new match-fixing scandal is threatening to turn Japan's national sport -- sumo wrestling -- upside down, and Thursday, three wrestlers admitted to the allegations.

The revelations first surfaced Wednesday when police said they found text messages from wrestlers' cell phones detailing how to win and lose matches.  They included demands of payments of up to $6,000.  The phones were confiscated as part of a larger investigation into reports wrestlers bet on baseball games.  Now, 14 athletes and their elders stand accused of betraying fans.

Sumo Association Chair Hanerogama apologized Thursday, saying a full investigation was underway.  That apology came after the Minister in charge of sumo revealed three wrestlers had confessed to the allegations, a first in the sport's modern history. 

Match-fixing isn't illegal in Japan, but any appearance of staging threatens to tarnish a sport already rocked by scandal.  Last summer, Japan's national broadcaster NHK pulled the tournament off air, after wrestlers admitted to gambling on baseball games with members of organized crime.  That came months after the sport's grand champion retired following reports he assaulted a man outside a Tokyo nightclub.  Rampant marijuana use has also forced wrestlers out of the sport, and four years ago, sumo came under attack, following news a young trainee had died as a result of hazing.

The Sumo Association has launched a third party investigation and the board is questioning the wrestlers involved.  But it may be too little too late.  NHK has already cancelled an annual charity sumo event and Fuji TV network announced they would cancel a larger Japan sumo tournament.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio