Wednesday, 1st September 2010
Sumo plans crackdown on mafia links
Moves are being made to ensure that Japan's national sport is cleaned up before the forthcoming national autumn tournament.
AFP reports that the continued link between the world of sumo and the underworld of illegal gambling has tarnished the image of the sport. A number of high-profile sponsors and the public broadcaster NHK boycotted a national tournament held in July.
Japan Sumo Association chairman Hanaregoma explained that all "gangsters" will be banned from any sumo events including training and tournament venues.
He added: "We in the sumo world will be aware of our social responsibility and we declare that we will exclude all antisocial forces such as the yakuza."
Starting on September 12th, the tournament will also make use of surveillance cameras to ensure that unwanted people are ejected immediately. The association has also banned a number of wrestlers due to recent high-profile betting scandals within the popular sport.
Sumo is thought to be around 1,500 years old and was originally used to improve the fitness of soldiers ahead of battle.
Written by Mark Smith
Related news stories:
Sumo star warned over drug injections (9th November 2011)
Pilot shows there's life after sumo (16th October 2008)
Top Japan sumo wrestler retires (6th October 2008)
Yokozuna Asashoryu suffers first-day sumo defeat (12th May 2008)
Former sumo star sports police badge (13th September 2011)