Japan’s Daiya Seto posing with his medal at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea in 2019, was suspended by the Japan Swimming Federation for the rest of the year after a gossip magazine published evidence that he was having an extramarital affair. Lee Jin-man/Associated Press

The Japan Swimming Federation has suspended Daiya Seto, one of the world’s top swimmers, for the rest of the year after a gossip magazine published evidence that he was having an extramarital affair.

Seto, who won a bronze medal in the 400-meter individual medley at the 2016 Rio Olympics and is the current world champion in that event and the 200-meter IM, has apologized multiple times after a tabloid published a story last month detailed how the married father of two had visited a “love hotel” – a hotel that offers stays of as short as a few hours – with a woman who was not his wife.

“I intend to sincerely give my full attention to swimming … so that I may regain the trust of my family, whom I hurt deeply with my irresponsible behavior, and regain the acceptance of my family as well as all of you as a swimmer,” Seto said in a statement released through his management company on Tuesday.

Seto, 26, admitted to the affair and resigned as captain of Japan’s Olympic swim team last month after the magazine published the story. He still will be able to swim in next year’s Tokyo Olympics and already has qualified by virtue of the world championships he won in 2019. However, he has lost sponsorship deals with the Japanese Olympic Committee and All Nippon Airways.

Japanese sporting officials have previously issued strict punishments to athletes who, in their eyes, have tarnished the country’s honor. In 2014, the Japan Swimming Federation suspended Naoya Tomita – a world short-course breaststroke champion – for 17 months after he was caught stealing a professional photographer’s camera from the pool deck at the 2014 Asian Games.

At the Asian Games in Jakarta four years later, four members of the Japanese men’s basketball team were sent home after checking into a hotel with four women deemed to be prostitutes. The players later were suspended from competition for one year.

In 2018, the Japanese Canoe Federation suspended kayaker Yasuhiro Suzuki for eight years after he admitted to spiking an opponent’s drink with anabolic steroids in an attempt to get him to fail a drug test. Two years earlier, Olympic badminton player Kenichi Tago was kicked off the national team after losing nearly $100,000 at illegal casinos in Japan, where most forms of gambling are prohibited.

SOCCER

PREMIER LEAGUE: A plan to transform English soccer engineered by Liverpool and Manchester United was rejected by Premier League rivals at a meeting on Wednesday.

Liverpool and United worked with the English Football League on a plan that would have provided more cash for the three professional divisions below the Premier League, but it was denounced by critics as a power grab by the wealthy elite to strengthen their control.

The plan – known as Project Big Picture – was criticized by the government and Premier League leadership ahead of Wednesday’s video call between clubs.

“All 20 Premier League clubs today unanimously agreed that Project Big Picture will not be endorsed or pursued by the Premier League, or the FA,” the Premier League said in a statement. “Further, Premier League Shareholders agreed to work together as a 20-club collective on a strategic plan for the future structures and financing of English football, consulting with all stakeholders to ensure a vibrant, competitive and sustainable football pyramid.”

Liverpool and United have said nothing publicly about their role in the radical strategy, leaving EFL chairman Rick Parry to be their public spokesman.

Premier League clubs have agreed to a rescue package for clubs in the third and fourth tiers, but not the second-tier Championship.

MLS: Kekuta Manneh and Teal Bunbury scored early goals, Adam Buska had a goal and an assist, and New England beat the Montreal Impact 3-2 on Wednesday night in Harrison, New Jersey.

New England (7-4-7) has won consecutive games and has one loss in its last seven matches.

NATIONS LEAGUE: Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku scored twice in a 2-1 win at Iceland that moved Belgium to the top of its group, ahead of Denmark and England.

England dropped to third place on goal differential after a 1-0 loss at home against Denmark. England defender Harry Maguire was sent off in the 31st minute after getting his second yellow card.

• Star striker Kylian Mbappe scored late as France frustrated Croatia again, winning 2-1 in Zagreb, Croatia, to stay even with Portugal in group play.

Portugal beat Sweden, 3-0.

• Italy slipped to second in its group after it was held to a 1-1 draw by the Netherlands in a game in Bergamo, Italy, that paid tribute to the city’s many victims of the coronavirus pandemic.

Poland moved to the top of the group by beating Bosnia-Herzegovina, 3-0.

ITALY: Napoli was handed a 3-0 loss by the Italian league and docked one point for not showing up for its Serie A match at Juventus because of coronavirus cases.

Napoli said it would appeal.

Napoli did not travel to Turin for the Oct. 4 game because local health authorities ordered the squad into quarantine after two players tested positive for the coronavirus.

However, the league’s Disciplinary Commission ruled that Napoli did not have a valid reason for missing the match and should have followed the league’s COVID-19 protocol, which was accepted by all clubs before the season began.

TENNIS

ST. PETERSBURG OPEN: Top-seeded Daniil Medvedev recovered from a shaky start as he began his title defense in Russia with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 win over Richard Gasquet.

Stan Wawrinka booked his spot in the quarterfinals with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 win over Evgeny Donskoy.

HOCKEY

NHL: The Montreal Canadiens gave goalie Jake Allen a two-year contract extension, worth $2.875 million per season.

Montreal acquired Allen in a trade with St. Louis on Sept. 2. The Canadiens hope he can be a reliable backup to All-Star Carey Price.

BOXING

FURY FOCUSED ON JOSHUA: Tyson Fury is turning his attention to an all-British heavyweight unification bout with Anthony Joshua early next year after ending plans for a third fight with Deontay Wilder.

Fury claimed the WBC belt from Wilder with a seventh-round stoppage in their rematch in Las Vegas in February and the British boxer’s U.S. promoter, Bob Arum, was looking to stage a third fight between them in front of 15,000 spectators at the home of NFL team Las Vegas Raiders on Dec. 19.

However, U.S. government restrictions on fans attending sports events and TV scheduling clashes with college football games has scuppered those plans, and Arum said Fury did not want a Wilder fight to be pushed back until the end of January or February.

Instead, Arum told The Associated Press, Fury is set to fight an as-yet-unnamed opponent back in Britain on Dec. 5 and then “wants to go right to a Joshua fight, which is his right.”

Before taking on Fury, Joshua – the WBA, IBF and WBO titleholder – is lined up to fight mandatory IBF challenger Kubrat Pulev.

WEIGHTLIFTING

INTERIM PRESIDENT OUSTED: The future of weightlifting at the Olympic Games was put in further doubt Wednesday after the governing body’s interim president was ousted and the International Olympic Committee expressed concern.

Interim president Ursula Garza Papandrea told The Associated Press that board members voted to remove her from office Tuesday during a virtual meeting which she did not attend. Papandrea, a former weightlifter and coach from the United States, said board members repeatedly thwarted her attempts to reshape the IWF after an investigation alleged long-running corruption and doping cover-ups.

Papandrea said the IWF was “dysfunctional” and long-serving officials were hostile to reform. “As soon as I was in a position to make changes, I did,” she said. “These guys, they’ve had decades to write a new constitution, they’ve had decades to reform, and all of a sudden they’re really going to do it now? I’m a little skeptical.”

CYCLING

GIRO D’ITALIA: Arnaud Démare earned his fourth stage victory at this year’s Giro d’Italia by winning the 11th leg in another mass sprint, and João Almeida held onto the overall leader’s pink jersey.

Démare edged Peter Sagan and Álvaro Hodeg at the end of the mostly flat 113-mile leg from Porto Sant’Elpidio to Rimini along the Adriatic coast.

Démare, a French rider with the Groupama-FDJ team, also won the fourth, sixth and seventh stages, which also ended in mass sprints.

Fernando Gaviria was the first to launch his sprint, with about 200 yards to go, but Démare responded immediately.

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