- In Japan's football history, there are two different leagues that have the same English name "Japan Football League" although their Japanese names are different. One still exists and is the subject of this page while the other ceased to exist in 1998. In this page, the ceased Japan Football League is referred to as "the former JFL".
The is the 3rd tier of the Japanese association football league system
, following J. League Division 1
and J. League Division 2
. Also known as the JFL
, it is generally considered as the top amateur league in Japan
although in reality it is a semi-professional league as many full-time footballers play in the league.
The Japan Football League started from the 1999 season
when the second division of J. League (J2) was also born. Until then, J. League consisted of only one division and the former JFL was the second highest division. Out of 16 teams who played the last season of the former JFL, 9 decided and were accepted to play in J2 and the other 7 teams as well as , the winners of the resional league play-off, formed the new Japan Football League. These 8 teams together with that was allowed to participate as a special case after the merger of and competed in the inaugural 1999 season.
The 9 teams that competed in the first season were as follows: , , , Kokushikan University F.C., , , , and .
The original number of clubs was 9, as mentioned above. In the following season the number was increased... Read More