Obviously I like to focus on FC Gifu & J2 in the main, but there is a new league coming next year, and some more details/rumours regarding the make up of it have been filtering through.
J3 will be made up of 12 teams and will start in 2014. Currently, teams need either a J2 associate member licence, or a new, special J3 associate member licence. Only clubs that hold these licences will be eligible for the new league. Teams that hold these licences currently are:
- Kamatamare Sanuki (holders of a J2 licence)
- Machida Zelvia (holders of a J2 licence)
- AC Nagano Parceiro (holders of a J3 licence, stadium concerns prevented a J2 licence)
- Zweigen Kanazawa (holders of a J3 licence, application filed for a J2 licence)
- Blaublitz Akita (J3 licence)
- SC Sagamihara (J3 licence)
- Yokohama Sports & Culture Club (J3 licence)
- Grulla Morioka (J3 licence)
- Renofa Yamaguchi (J3 licence)
Yesterday, there was an article on the Yahoo! Japan sports site that claimed that the remaining clubs had had their applications reviewed. The article states that the following clubs will have their application approved:
- Vanraure Hachinohe
- Nara Club
- Tonan Maebashi
- FC Ryukyu
- Fujieda MYFC
- Azul Claro Numazu
- Fukushima United
Their are some very surprising names in that list, specifically Azul Claro Numazu & Tonan Maebashi. Numazu are a very young club that have only recently ascended into the Tokai League Div.1. For them to be eligible for J.League associate member status (even if only the J3 licence) is quite amazing. Also, Tonan Maebashi were considered outsiders for a licence, but somehow they have pulled it off. Teams that have been rejected (again, according the article) are:
- MIO Biwako Shiga
- Tochigi Uva
- Suzuka Rampole
The main reason given for the rejection of these applications are finance-related, and a lack of co-operation/understanding between local municipal governments and the clubs.
The full, official decision won’t be announced until the 17th of this month, but these lists are being widely reported in the Japanese media today. If they are to be confirmed next Tuesday (Monday is respect the aged day in Japan, and thus a national holiday) then it leaves 16 teams (icluding relegated sides from J2) vying for 12 spots in the new league, and that isn’t to mention the reported “Olympic team” which is rumoured to be under consideration.
The “Olympic team” will essentially a team of under 23’s who would train with their clubs during the week and then meet up on the weekend to play in J3, the idea being that the team will have regular competitive football in the lead up to tournaments. The chairman of Cerezo Osaka has already come out nd said that he thinks it is a difficult idea to implement, and I’m sure others aren’t far behind. So the “Olympic team” is far from a lock to be involved in J3.
The final list of J3 teams will be announced in December, once the J2 relegation place(s) and JFL promotion place(s) have been decided. Up until then, I will be trying to keep you as up to date as possible with the J3 process.