Virus forces sumo tournament behind closed doors
Sumo’s spring tournament will be held behind closed doors, the sport’s governing body said Sunday, the latest big event in Japan to be hit by the coronavirus less than five months before the Tokyo Olympics.
The Japan Sumo Association said spectators would be barred the tournament in Osaka scheduled for March 8-22.
“We made this decision to help end the spread of the infection,” it said on its website.
“We ask for your understanding.”
The virus has infected at least 230 people across Japan and been linked to five deaths.
The sumo decision comes after the International Tennis Federation said Japan’s home Davis Cup tie against Ecuador on March 6-7 would also be played behind closed doors.
Football’s top-flight J-League, meanwhile, has postponed all matches until March 15.
All tickets for the spring sumo tournament were sold out with some 7,000 spectators a day expected to visit the venue in the western city.
The viral outbreak across Japan and dozens of other countries has fuelled concerns about the Summer Olympics, which open on July 24.
The International Olympic Committee said last week, however, it was “fully committed” to holding the 2020 Games in Tokyo as planned despite the outbreak.
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