Thursday, 3rd February 2011
Sumo wrestlers admit match-fixing
At least three sumo wrestlers in Japan have confessed to match-fixing, plunging the national sport into crisis.
The allegations of the activity first came to light last year after police began investigating the wrestlers over accusations of illegal gambling.
Several text messages pointing to match-fixing were discovered on their mobile phones during the investigation.
Now, the latest admissions threaten to severely damage the reputation of the ancient sport of Japan.
Hanaregoma, chairman of the Japan Sumo Association, said that there would be severe punishment for those found to be guilty of match-fixing.
"I feel great indignation and sorrow," he said. "I want to apologise to fans from the bottom of my heart. This problem shakes the very foundation of our sport."
The scandal is a major problem for sumo: although match-fixing is not against the law, wrestlers are expected to demonstrate high standards of sportsmanship within the ring and act with dignity and humility outside of it.
Written by Mark Smith
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Pilot shows there's life after sumo (16th October 2008)
Top Japan sumo wrestler retires (6th October 2008)
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