The J. League’s board of directors on Tuesday formally approved a new two-stage format that will be implemented from 2015.
The J. League moved to its existing single-stage championship in 2005. Until then, the season was decided by the winners of two stages. The new format, however, has not been warmly received by many fans.
Since the news of the plan came out, there have been signs of protest at most J. League venues, with fans carrying placards stating their opposition, while the league has had to answer one telephone call after another from angry fans.
“Our core fans are very important, but we have realized there are issues we have to view as being bigger problems,” said Daisuke Nakanishi, the director of the league’s competition and business department.
The playoff of the new two-stage format — the league is currently calling it the “Super Stage” — pits the winner of the first stage against the runnerup of the second stage, and vice versa.
The winners of that round face off to decide who will play the team with the most points from the two stages combined in a championship match.