|Full name||日本 プ ロ サ ッ カ ー リ ー グ
Nihon Pro Soccer League
The J. League Division 2 (J リ ー グ ・ デ ィ ビ ジ ョ ン 2 J Rīgu Dibijon 2 ) or J2 League (J2 リ ー グJ2 Rīgu ) is the second division of the Japan Professional Football League (日本 プ ロ サ ball カ ー リ ー グNippon Puro Sakkā Rīgu ) Japan . In the league hierarchy it is in second place, behind the superordinate J. League Division 1 .
For the 1999 season, the newly founded J2 replaced the former Japan Football League with ten clubs. Its founding members included a relegated J1 team and nine JFL clubs. This was newly founded for the third-class Japan Football League with nine participants. In addition to the seven remaining clubs, the field was expanded to include the newly founded Yokohama FC and a newcomer from the regional leagues .
Before founding (-1999)
With the Japan Soccer League Second Division , the country's first second-rate soccer league was founded in 1972. Of the ten founding members of the JSL, five played in the J. League, which was later founded: Toyota Motors (winner of the preparatory tournament), Yomiuri , Fujitsu , Kyoto Shiko Club and Kofu Club . The last two clubs in the first division played in a relegation for relegation with the master and runner-up of the JSL. From the 1980 season only the runner-up had to play for promotion until the relegation was initially completely suspended and both teams were promoted immediately.
Before 1977, clubs could only reach the second division by participating in the final of the All Japan Senior Football Championship and winning the relegation. Then the newly introduced national regional league final round decided on promotion to the second division. In 1985 the league was expanded to include two teams, and the following year to 16 teams. Until 1989 there was an east and west group that divided the clubs geographically. This separation was canceled until the founding of the J. League and the restructuring of Japanese professional football that followed in 1992. The JSL Second Division was renamed the Japan Football League , which was again divided into two divisions, each with ten clubs. In 1994 the two divisions were merged again and doubled the field of participants. With the increasing size of the teams in the J. League, a new second division had to be provided. Because many newly founded clubs were aiming for promotion to the new professional league ( Shonan Bellmare , Kashiwa Reysol , Cerezo Osaka and Júbilo Iwata are to be mentioned here ), which, despite winning the JSL First Division, did not qualify for participation in the preparatory tournament.
The structure of the league changed significantly in 1999. Nine clubs from the JFL and one team from the J. League were appointed to the new J. League Division 2. The top division was henceforth to the J. League Division 1 (J1) with 16 teams and the J. League Division 2 played with ten teams. The formerly second-rate Japan Football League became the eponymous, but structurally different and now third-rate Japan Football League .
The criteria for becoming a member of Division 2 were not as strict as those for the House of Lords. This enabled successful clubs from smaller cities to move up to the professional league without, for example, investing heavily in stadiums. Among other things, Mito Hollyhock was able to play among the professional clubs with an average of 3,000 fans per game and low sponsorship support.
Clubs used their participation in J2 to line up for promotion to J1. Investing in your own youth, in the stadium and improving your finances as well as building a following should enable you to move up soon. Clubs like Ōita Trinita , Albirex Niigata , Kawasaki Frontale and Ventforet Kofu achieved this quickly. Each of these clubs started as a small club in the J. League Division 2 in 1999 and rose to the House of Lords between 2002 and 2005. Despite the relegation of Kofu and Oita, clubs today still have an average of 10,000 fans per game.
The league format has been adapted to European professional leagues. In the first three years it was still common to play league games in the event of a tie with extra time . The extension was only abolished in 2002 and the 3-1-0 point system was introduced in 2004.
Expansion of the league (2004–2009)
In 2000 and 2001, two third division clubs , Mito HollyHock and Yokohama FC , were eligible to play in Division 2. Mito had already tried to join in 1999 and Yokohama FC, which was founded by fans of the disbanded Yokohama wing in the same year, would also be been a possible candidate for the field of participants in the founding year of Division 2.
Except for these two clubs, no other club tried to get promoted to the professional league until 2004. Only then came two new clubs, Thespa Kusatsu and Tokushima Vortis , which expanded the league field. For the 2006 season, the Ehime FC made promotion. It turned out that the clubs were very interested in joining, but at the turn of the millennium they still played in the regional league and could only build up within the next three to four years in order to strive for promotion.
Especially the fact that the division made it possible for small clubs to play with professional clubs in a league made it so attractive. At the beginning of the 2006 season, the league initiated a survey to determine the general interest of the clubs in joining. It turned out that 40 to 60 clubs expressed their interest in joining the professional league within the next 30 years. The J. League's 100-year vision, declared at the end of the 1990s, thus seemed feasible.
In a newly established committee, two options for enlarging the league were to be examined: Either Division 2 could initially be expanded as a second professional league or a third professional league could be founded in order to prepare the emerging clubs for promotion to Division 2. The following considerations led to the decision to initially expand Division 2 to 22 clubs:
- The Japan Football League, as the third Japanese league, was already sufficiently preparing for promotion.
- At this point in time, most of the emerging clubs were still in the regional leagues of Japan and thus two to four leagues under Division 2.
- The establishment of 22 enabled the perfect balance between enough home games per season without affecting the round-trip format.
- In the established European leagues, more clubs usually play in the second and third division than in the upper house.
The committee decided to introduce the extraordinary member system , which was to be introduced for the 2006 season. Thus, the league was able to support interested clubs in their promotion to the professional league in particular. This membership was therefore only awarded to clubs that have expressed their interest in wanting to advance to the professional league of the country and already fulfill a large part of the requirements for promotion to J2. Several clubs in the Japan Football League and the regional leagues applied and promptly received membership. As soon as one of the members was placed in the top 4 of the JFL, nothing stood in the way of promotion to J2. In addition to Ehime FC, six other clubs rose in this way.
With the increase in the field of J2 participants, the former four rounds per season were reduced to three in 2008. In the following season the field of participants was expanded from 15 to 18 and thus corresponded to a typical European professional league for the first time. The relegation games between J1 and J2, introduced in 2004, were also ended in order to enable more clubs to gain direct promotion to the upper house.
End of expansion, J2 playoffs and other changes (2010 – present)
When 19 clubs reached the 2010 season, the round-trip format was introduced. The field of participants was expanded to 22, making relegation from J2 to the Japan Football League possible for the first time . This mark should not be exceeded for the next seasons.
For the 2012 season, similar to the Football League Championship , Serie B or the Segunda División , a playoff tournament was introduced for promotion aspirants. While places one and two in Division 2 are automatically promoted, ranks 3 to 6 play in a tournament for promotion to J1.
- The third placed plays against the sixth in the table and the fourth against the fifth. Unlike in Europe, however, only one game is played in the stadium of the higher placed.
- The winners either play in the home stadium of the higher placed or on neutral ground such as the Tokyo Olympic Stadium . The winner receives the third promotion place.
- In the event of a tie, overtime and / or penalty shoot-outs will be waived. The higher placed receives the privilege and is "winner" in the event of a tie.
The last two placed can be relegated, depending on the outcome of the JFL.
From the 2013 season, clubs are to receive a license. Clubs that cannot meet the requirements of the license, regardless of their placement, are relegated to the JFL.
Another professional league was introduced below J2 for the 2014 season. The new J3 League initially consisted of twelve teams and consisted of the relegated team from J2 2013, Gainare Tottori , nine clubs from the Japan Football League, one promoted team from the regional leagues and a U-22 team from the J1 and J2 teams . All eligible teams had to meet a number of eligibility criteria. The Japan Football League thus fell back to the fourth level of the Japanese league pyramid.
|year||Important events||# J2 teams||Ascent||Relegation pl.|
Position in the Japanese football pyramid
|Stages)||League / Division|
J. League Division 1 (J1)
J. League Division 2 (J2)
Japan Football League
|V / VI||
leagues 134 clubs
leagues & 4 block leagues on Hokkaidō
When it was founded, Division 2 introduced a promotion and relegation system for the professional leagues, similar to that of European professional leagues. Between 2004 and 2008, relegation games were played by the third place in J2 and the sixteenth in J1. Since 2009 there have been three direct promotion places to Division 1. Even if the clubs should meet the requirements of J1 for promotion, promotion has not yet been denied to any club.
A promotion from a lower league to the J2 has been possible since 2007, a relegation to a lower league since 2012. Until 2013, this league was the Japan Football League , with clubs from the JFL only being allowed to rise if they were members of the J. League and were among the top 4 of a season. From 2014 the new J3 League will replace the JFL. Normally, the last placed will be relegated directly to the J3 League, while the penultimate will play playoff games against the runner-up in the J3. However, the relegation will be reduced accordingly if one or both of the athletically qualified J3 teams do not have a second division license.
League format (since 2014)
The 22 clubs in Division 1 play against each other in a return match, which means that each team has to play 42 games. The team receives three points for a win, one for a draw and none for a loss. The placement is decided based on points. If the number of points is equal, the ranking will be decided in the following order:
- Goal difference
- Shot goals
- Results in the duels
- Fair play comparison
If necessary, the placement will be played out. If two clubs are tied in first place, both are declared champions and are promoted. The third promotion place is played in a playoff tournament between places 3 to 6.
The last placed will be relegated directly to the J3 League , the penultimate will play relegation games against the J3 runner-up. If the athletically qualified J3 teams do not have a second division license, the relegation will be reduced accordingly.
- 1st place: 20,000,000 yen
- 2nd place: 10,000,000 yen
- 3rd place: 5,000,000 yen
J. League Division 2 clubs 2016
- Clubs highlighted in gray indicate clubs that were relegated from J1 last.
- Clubs highlighted in pink indicate clubs that were recently promoted from the Japan Football League .
- "Year of joining" means the year in which the club joined the J League (Division 2, unless otherwise stated).
- "Last in the upper house" can also mean the old Japan Soccer League First Division.
Summary of the ascents and descents
Promotion to the J. League Division 1
Initially, only the first two teams were allowed promotion to J1. Between 2004 and 2008, the third-placed player played a relegation against the sixteenth of the table in the J1 . This has been waived since 2009 and places 1–3 rise automatically.
* Clubs in bold have moved up; Clubs marked with † lost the relegation; Clubs marked with ‡ won the relegation and were promoted. Clubs marked with # won the promotion playoffs of the teams that have been held since 2012 in places 3 to 6 of a season.
Most successful clubs
|society||master||Vice||Number of J2 championships||Number of J2 vice championships|
|Kawasaki Frontale||2||0||1999, 2004|
|Kyoto Sanga||2||0||2001, 2005|
|Consadole Sapporo||2||0||2000, 2007|
|Cerezo Osaka||0||2||2002, 2009|
|Urawa Red Diamonds||0||1||2000|
Relegation from the J. League Division 2
When Division 2 was introduced, the league initially did without an exchange mechanism with the former third-class Japan Football League . Over time, however, the league grew to its target strength of 22 teams, so that in 2012 it was possible for the first time to relegate a team to the JFL. Eventually it hit Machida Zelvia , who is the only team that was relegated from J2 to the semi-professional JFL. The third professional league J3 League was founded just one year later , so that a permanent exchange between the leagues could now be established.
The rules for this exchange are currently as follows: The last one in Division 2 is directly relegated and replaced by the J3 champion, the penultimate one plays relegation games against the runner-up in J3. If one or both of the athletically qualified promoters do not have a second division license, the number of relegators is reduced accordingly.
|year||20th place||21st place||22nd place|
|2012||Gainare Tottori||FC Gifu||Machida Zelvia|
|2013||Thespakusatsu Gunma||FC Gifu||Gainare Tottori ‡|
|2014||Tokyo Verdy||Kamatamare Sanuki †||Kataller Toyama|
* Relegated clubs are shown in bold ;
† Winner of the relegation against J3 or JFL team;
‡ Loser in the relegation against J3 or JFL team and thus relegated
|1999||Takuya Jinno||Ōita Trinita||19th|
|2000||Emerson Sheik||Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo||31|
|2005||Paulinho||Kyoto Purple Sanga||22nd|
|2008||Hisato Sato||Sanfrecce Hiroshima||28|
|2009||Shinji Kagawa||Cerezo Osaka||27|
|2010||Mike Havenaar||Ventforet Kofu||20th|
|2011||Yōhei Toyoda||Sagan Tosu||23|
|2013||Kempes||JEF United Chiba||22nd|
|2014||Masashi Ōguro||Kyoto Sanga||26th|
|2015||Jay Bothroyd||Júbilo Iwata||20th|
|2016||Jong Tae-se||Shimizu S-Pulse||26th|
|2017||Ibba Laajab||Yokohama FC||21st|
|2018||Genki Ōmae||Omiya Ardija||24|
- Official site (English)