Sumo event halted over bout-fixing

The crisis in Japan's national sport deepened this weekend when sumo wrestling's governing body scrapped a major spring tournament as it struggles to deal with match-rigging claims.

The decision on next month's Basho – the first cancellation since the Second World War – follows an admission by two top-division wrestlers and a retired coach that they had thrown bouts for money. Chairman of the Japan Sumo Association, Hanaregoma, said the revelations were "unforgivable". "What I am about to say marks the darkest ever chapter in the long history of sumo," he said. "Until we can completely root out corruption in the sport, we cannot show sumo in the ring."

State broadcaster NHK, which has sole rights to cover sumo tournaments, had already announced it was pulling the plug on live coverage of the event in Osaka.

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