In Japan, the big sports talk in the news media isn’t about the NFL’s Super Bowl this Sunday, they could care less about that, especially when allegations of match fixing in their holy sport of Sumo are running rampant…Again.
From the very beginning, Sumo has always been Japan’s most glorified sport, but lately, the validity of the sport has come into question. Following an investigative probe that was launched last year that uncovered more than 60 wrestlers admitting they had gambled illegally on baseball and card games. That’s nothing compared to the recent allegations of match fixing involving over 13 wrestlers.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that Japanese police have discovered evidence of match fixing on the cell phones of several wrestlers. You would expect that these findings would rock the Sumo world. While the sport may lose some validity, don’t expect any arrests to be made. In Japan, believe it or not, match fixing isn’t exactly illegal.
But this activity doesn’t bold well for the sport as a whole. The sport’s ties with organised crime and the repeated revelations of widespread illegal gambling already caused big-name sponsors to withdraw and the broadcaster NHK to boycott a national tournament last July.