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Golf out of bounds for sumo wrestlers

other Updated: Jun 30, 2011 01:19 IST

Japan's sumo giants have been banned from playing golf and instructed to strictly obey traffic laws as the country's ancient sport gears up for its formal return from a damaging bout-fixing scandal.

Sumo officials are turning the screw after being given the government's go-ahead to hold its first tournament since a sting operation led to 25 wrestlers and trainers being fired.

"This is really the start so I want the wrestlers to be braced for it," Japan Sumo Association (JSA) chairman Hanaregoma told Wednesday's Japanese media.

Following a serious traffic accident some years ago, wrestlers were banned from driving and they will also have their mobile phones confiscated for the July 10-24 Nagoya tournament.

Accusations of match-fixing are not unheard of in sumo but text messages discovered on mobile phones tipped off the JSA and sparked the latest public relations disaster.

Lengthy charge sheets leading to mass sackings and even arrests and convictions in gambling, drug use, gang crime and assault cases have plagued the sports in recent years.