Clubs of Japan’s football championship J-League, players and referees signed a common declaration promising to keep away from “anti-social forces”, another way of referring to the infamous “yakuza” mobsters.
Even if J-League has not been linked to mob crimes in its 20-year-old history, it “has already become a target of online betting abroad,” according to the chairman of the competition, Kazumi Ohigashi.
Betting is illegal in Japan except on some races, for example horse racing.
“To protect the J-League from this wrongdoing, it is necessary for us in football to continue cutting relations with anti-social forces including crime syndicates,” the J-League statement said. Since last November, anyone wishing to speak about suspected corruption cases can call a special hotline number at J-League.
The Japan Football Association is also cooperating Early Warning System GmbH, a body affiliated to FIFA which monitors sports betting market worldwide.
Football match-fixing cases have increased lately in Europe, Africa, Asia and other regions. International crime organizations and online betting are often behind this phenomenon, according to press reports.