Japan Football League
|Japan Football League|
|Full name||Japan Football League
Japanese 日本 フ ッ ト ボ ー ル リ ー グ
|Association||Japan Football Association|
|master||Honda FC (2018)|
|Record champions||Honda FC (8)|
|Record player||Masayuki Ishii (280)|
|Record scorer||Jun'ya Nitta (132)|
↓ Several regional leagues
The Japan Football League ( Japanese 日本 フ ッ ト ボ ー ル リ ー グ , Nihon Futtobōru Līgu ) is a Japanese football league. After the three professional leagues of the J. League , it is classified on the fourth level of the Japanese league pyramid and officially functions as the top amateur league. Despite the name, their structures are to be regarded as semi-professional , especially due to their character as a transition division for clubs that are interested in professional football in the medium term .
A league called the Japan Football League had existed in Japan since 1992 , which, after the J. League was founded at the same time, acted as the second tier of the Japanese league pyramid. With the renewed structural reform in 1999, nine teams of the old league rose to the newly founded J. League Division 2 , while the remaining seven joined a new division at the third level.
Originally, the newly founded league was to include a total of eight teams, as the champions of the national regional league final round , Yokogawa Denki FC , were added to the seven old JFL participants . Due to the merger of the two J. League clubs Yokohama Marinos and Yokohama Flügels , however, the then newly founded Yokohama FC was also subsequently admitted to the JFL. The following nine teams are therefore considered to be founding members:
- Denso SC
- Honda FC
- Jatco FC
- Kokushikan University SC
- Mito HollyHock
- Ōtsuka Pharmaceutical SC
- Sony Sendai FC
- Yokogawa Denki FC
- Yokohama FC
In the following two seasons, the league's field of participants was continuously expanded to initially twelve and then to the originally planned sixteen clubs. As early as 2002, however, the league had to be expanded to eighteen clubs for one season, as the promotion places were all taken by company teams and therefore no promotion took place at the end of the 2001 season. Only at the end of the 2004 season did two teams leave the league for the first time after a three-year break with insgesamttsuka Pharmaceuticals and Thespa Kusatsu in the direction of the J. League.
For the 2006 season, the number of participants increased again to eighteen teams, which was largely retained until 2013. Only the 2012 season was contested by only seventeen teams, as Arte Takasaki had to leave the league at short notice due to financial difficulties.
Before the 2014 season, major changes were made due to a further restructuring of the professional area. Ten of the previous participants became new members of the J. League; the runner-up of the 2013 season, Kamatamare Sanuki rose to the J2, while the remaining nine teams were included in the newly formed J3 League . This new professional league took over the third position in the league hierarchy from the JFL, which thus fell back to the fourth level. The remaining eight clubs were supplemented by six newcomers from the regional leagues, so the 2014 season was played with fourteen clubs. In addition, the game mode was switched to a system similar to that of the Apertura and Clausura in Latin American football. The first and second round are rated separately, the winners of the two half-series play after the second half of the season in a two-way round for the championship title. If one team wins both halves, these games are canceled.
For 2015 the number of teams was increased again to sixteen.
In general, works teams as well as autonomous clubs and their reserve teams can be admitted to the JFL, but only first teams from autonomous clubs are eligible for promotion to the J3 League with the appropriate athletic and economic qualifications. By 2010, university teams could also be proposed for membership by the Japan University Football Association, which then had to qualify through play-off games against lower-ranked JFL clubs.
|society||Year of joining||Located in||comment|
|Honda FC||1999||Hamamatsu , Shizuoka|
|Honda Lock SC||2005||Miyazaki , Miyazaki|
|Imabari FC||2017||Imabari , Ehime||J. League Centennial Plan Club|
|Maruyasu Okazaki FC||2014||Okazaki , Aichi|
|Matsue City FC||2019||Matsue , Shimane||Promoted from the Chūgoku Soccer League 2018|
|Mio Bivouac Shiga||2008||Kusatsu , Shiga|
|Nara Club||2015||Nara , Nara||J. League Centennial Plan Club|
|Osaka FC||2015||Higashiōsaka , Osaka|
|ReinMeer Aomori FC||2016||Aomori , Aomori|
|Ryūtsū Keizai Dragons Ryūgasaki||2015||Ryūgasaki , Ibaraki|
|Sony Sendai FC||1999||Tagajō , Miyagi|
|Suzuka Unlimited FC||2019||Suzuka , Mie||Promoted from the Tōkai - Regional|
|Tegevajaro Miyazaki||2018||Miyazaki, Miyazaki|
|Tokyo Musashino City FC||1999||Musashino , Tokyo||J. League Centennial Plan Club|
|Veertien Mie||2017||Kuwana , Mie|
|Forgive Ōita||2012||Yufu , Ōita|
- The climbers from the regional leagues are highlighted in pink
- J. League Centennial Plan clubs are highlighted in green
Promotion to the J. League
To be promoted to the professional leagues, clubs must meet the following criteria:
- Holders of the so-called 100 Year Plan status , which is awarded on application as soon as certain basic conditions regarding infrastructure, organization and division of the club are met
- Stadium with a capacity of at least 5,000 spectators, which meets the J3 requirements and has been approved by the league
- Fulfillment of the other license criteria for the J3 League
- Reaching place 1–4 at the end of the season, whereby the team in question must also be one of the top two of the 100 Year Plan status holders
- Average attendance of at least 2,000 at home games, with evidence of significant efforts to achieve an average of at least 3,000
- Annual sales of at least 150 million yen and no excessive debt
These conditions have essentially existed since the 2012 season and were only adjusted in terms of the necessary athletic qualifications with the introduction of the J3 League in 2014. Previously, a final placement as first or second was necessary, with only the champions being promoted directly and the second placed relegation games with a member of the J. League Division 2 , a placement in the top four is now sufficient.
- Clubs highlighted in pink rose to the J. League Division 2 .
- Clubs highlighted in yellow rose to the J3 League .
Relegation from the JFL
The bottom two of the overall table of a season are automatically relegated to the regional leagues and are replaced by the two best-placed teams in the national regional league finals . In the event that clubs leave the JFL in the J3 League, the relegation will be reduced accordingly.
Participation in the Kaiser Cup
Until 2008, only the winner of the first half of the season could qualify for the third round of the Kaiser Cup. Due to the expansion of J2, the qualification places were expanded to three by 2010. The other two clubs had to qualify for the first round via a tournament in their home prefectures . After a transition year (2014) without direct qualifiers for the main round, the winner of the first round has been eligible to start the first round of the Kaiser Cup since 2015.
- Football in Japan : under the football league system in Japan