Soccer / J. League

Zelvia fail to acquire J1 license in blow to promotion hopes

by Dan Orlowitz

The J. League on Thursday announced its decision on club licenses for the 2019 season, denying Machida Zelvia a J1 license as they sit in the second automatic promotion spot with eight rounds remaining in the season.

The club license system, which took effect in 2013, grants clubs the right to participate in the J.League’s three divisions based on a number of financial, organizational, and facility-related requirements.

According to a statement on the club’s official website, Zelvia’s J1 license application was denied on the grounds of insufficient capacity at its home ground of Machida Stadium as well as a lack of dedicated training facilities.

Should Zelvia finish the season in second place where it currently stands, only one second-division side would earn automatic promotion to the J1.

Mito Hollyhock, who are currently in 11th place in the second division, was awarded its first-ever J1 license on the condition that short-term renovations are undertaken at its home ground.

FC Ryukyu, which currently leads the J3, was awarded a J2 license and could become the first Okinawan club to reach the second flight. Second place Azul Claro Numazu’s petition for a J2 liense was denied.

Earlier this week, Japan Football Club participants Vanraure Hachinohe, Nara Club, and FC Imabari were awarded J3 licenses, allowing them to join the third division next year if they finish in the top four of Japan’s top amateur competition and draw an average of at least 2,000 fans per game.