The J3 League (JapaneseリーグJ3, J3 Rīgu ) is the third division of the Japan Pro Soccer League (日本 プロ サッカー リーグ, Nippon Puro Sakkā Rīgu ) and making it the third highest association football league in Japan.
In the hierarchy of leagues it is in third place, behind the parent J. League Division 2 takes over this place by the Japan Football League, which will be available only in fourth place from the 2014 season.
Prior to the establishment (until 2013)
Initial tests of a nationwide third division have been made in the restructuring of the Japanese professional football in 1992. So was the Japan Soccer League, which moved into second place with the establishment of the J. League, renamed the Japan Football League and divided of 10 teams in two divisions. As early as 1994, however, both divisions were merged again.
In connection with the launch of the J. League Division 2 in 1999, the re- establishment of a national third division, which also was named Japan Football League was. Unlike its predecessor, it should act as the highest amateur league in Japan. Soon, however, the JFL served as a rallying point of many clubs who wanted to be eventually included in the J. League.
This point was part of the J. League first encountered with the introduction of the system of "extraordinary memberships " in 2006. Clubs applying for such membership shall demonstrate a number of economic criteria in order to receive them. Only after a promotion to the J. League is possible with the appropriate sporting success. By 2013, the number of clubs increased in the JFL, who were these professional status, increasingly; so were last 10 of the 18 members of the JFL in possession of an extraordinary membership, despite the fact that since the introduction of the system for a season usually managed one to three teams promotion to the J. League.
Establishing the J3 League ( 2013)
Shortly before the end of the 2012 season for the first time Japanese media reported on the planned introduction of a new professional league that initially comprise 10-12 clubs and should not have such strict licensing criteria compared to J2. On January 16, 2013, all of the J. League clubs agreed on the introduction of the League for the 2014 season; this decision was upheld by J. League Council on 26 February 2013. Although it was originally planned as a league with 10 teams, the skill level of the new J3 was established in July 2013 to 12 teams.
To be considered for the premiere season, had to participate interested clubs either already own or have but requested membership to 30 June 2013, the status of an associate member. In the latter case then examined the J. League Council, whether the respective club met the requirements for participation. On November 19, the following 11 teams were finally confirmed as participants in the J3 League 2014 ( in brackets the league affiliation in the 2013 season ):
- Gainare Tottori (J2, relegated )
- Blaublitz Akita ( JFL )
- Machida Zelvia ( JFL )
- SC Sagamihara ( JFL )
- AC Nagano Parceiro ( JFL )
- Branches Kanazawa ( JFL )
- Yokohama SCC ( JFL )
- FC Ryukyu ( JFL )
- Fukushima United ( JFL )
- Fujieda MYFC ( JFL )
- Grulla Morioka ( Tohoku Soccer League, winning the rise of the nine Regional Games - Season Winner)
As a twelfth team U -22 selection team of J1 and J2 clubs has been added. This team, which is made up of the best young players in the higher class clubs, was established with a view to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Future plans (2014 - )
The J. League has not released any further expansion plans. However, it is very likely that in the future other teams be included in the league. Below is a list of clubs that had applied for a license, but were rejected for various reasons by the league. Most clubs will continue to pursue the goal of becoming eventually incorporated into the J3 League. In brackets give the league in which the club played at the end of the 2013 season:
- Renofa Yamaguchi ( Chūgoku Soccer League) - Club with extraordinary member of the J. League, was first team substitutes for the event that Grulla Morioka would not get a license
- Azul Claro Numazu ( Tōkai Soccer League) - Club with extraordinary membership, was second runners- Team
- Vanraure Hachinohe ( Tohoku Soccer League) - Club with extraordinary membership
- Tonan Maebashi ( Kanto Soccer League) - Club with extraordinary membership
- Nara Club ( Kansai League) - Club with extraordinary membership
- MIO Biwako Shiga (Japan Football League)
- Tochigi Uva (Japan Football League)
- Suzuka Rampole ( Tōkai Soccer League)