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Friday, 25th June 2010
In Sports,

Japanese police vow to tackle organised crime links to sumo wrestling

Law enforcement bodies in Japan plan to do everything in their power to rid sumo wrestling of its links to organised crime groups.

The ancient national sport has had its reputation damaged by an illegal gambling crisis involving some of its top stars and yakuza organisations in the country.

According to the Japan Sumo Association, 29 wrestlers have admitted to illegal gambling, the AFP claims.

One star to be caught is 38-year-old Mitsutomo Furuichi, who was arrested yesterday (Thursday) on suspicion of extortion after rumours surfaced he had demanded money from a competitor in return for staying quiet over his alleged love of gambling.

National Police Agency chief Takaharu Ando told the AFP that steps must be taken to clean up the sport.

"We have to clean yakuza crime links out of the sumo world," he stated.

The July Grand Sumo tournament is set to take place from July 11th to the 25th at the Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium in Nagoya.

Written by Kimberley Homer