League Structure

Competition System

2023 J.League Competition System

MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE (18 teams)

Format: Home and away round-robin tournament (34 matchweeks / 306 matches)

Dates: Saturday, February 18th - Sunday, December 3rd

Venues: Matches will be played at the home stadium of each club in principle

Match format and determination of winners

In case a 90-minute match (two halves of 45 minutes each) is played and no winner is decided, the match ends in a tie.

Points

  • Winner: three (3) points
  • Tie: one (1) point
  • Loser: zero (0) points

Determination of annual standing

Ranking is determined by the total number of points at the end of the league, and the teams with a higher number of points are ranked at the top. However, teams with the same number of points are ranked based on the following factors, in order of priority.

  1. Goal difference
  2. Number of goals scored
  3. Head-to-head results (A: Points, B: Goal difference, C: Number of goals scored)
  4. Disciplinary points
  5. Draw

* A draw is conducted only when deemed necessary by the Board of Directors, for example, to determine the team to be relegated.

Promotion/Relegation between J1 and J2

  • The J1 club ranked lowest in the annual standings is relegated to J2, and the two J2 clubs ranked top in the annual standings and the winner of the J1 Promotion Play-Offs which takes place between the clubs ranked 3rd to 6th in the J2 annual standings will be promoted to J1.
  • If a club ranked 1st or 2nd in the J2 annual standings does not have a J1 club license, the following rules are applied:
    1. The J2 club in question cannot be promoted to J1 and the J1 club ranked lowest in the annual standings is not relegated to J2.
    2. If one of the two J2 clubs ranked top in the annual standings have a J1 club license, the applicable J2 club and winning club of J1 Promotion Play-Offs will be promoted to J1.
    3. If neither of the two J2 clubs ranked top in the annual standings has a J1 club license, two J2 clubs from J1 Promotion Play-Offs are promoted to J1.
  • If a club from among the clubs ranked 3rd to 6th in the J2 annual standings does not have a J1 club license, the following rules are applied:
    1. The J2 club in question cannot participate in the J1 Promotion Play-Offs.
    2. The clubs ranked 7th and below in the J2 annual standings cannot be moved up to participate in the J1 Promotion Play-Offs.
J1 League Teams, Schedules and Matches

J1 League match format

J1 & J2 League Team Promoted and Relegated

J1 Promotion Play-Offs

Conditions of Participation

  • The clubs ranked 3rd to 6th in the 2023 MEIJI YASUDA J2 LEAGUE season standings will participate in the J1 Promotion Play-Offs.
  • If a club from among those ranked 3rd to 6th in the J2 season standings does not have a J1 club license, the clubs ranked 7th and below in the J2 annual standings are not permitted to replace that club in the J1 Promotion Play-Offs.

Format:

  • If four clubs participate:
    Knock-out tournament with single-match fixtures (3 matches in total)
    The clubs ranked 3rd to 6th in the MEIJI YASUDA J2 LEAGUE will play off as follows: (3rd vs. 6th, 4th vs. 5th)
    Venue: Home stadium of the higher ranked club
  • If three clubs participate:
    Knock-out tournament with 1 match each (2 matches in total)
    The three clubs meeting the conditions of participation ranked 3rd to 6th in the MEIJI YASUDA J2 LEAGUE will play in a tournament.
    The lowest two clubs out of the above three clubs will play in the Semi-finals, while the winner advances to the Final.
    Venue: Home stadium of the higher ranked club
  • If two clubs participate:
    The two clubs meet the conditions of participation from ranked 3rd to 6th in the MEIJI YASUDA J2 LEAGUE will play in the Final.
    Venue: Home stadium of the higher ranked club
  • If only one club participates:
    The club meeting the conditions of participation will automatically be declared the winner of promotion.

Dates:

  • Semi-finals Saturday, November 25th or Sunday, November 26th
  • Final Saturday, December 2nd

Match format and determination of winners

In case a 90-minute match (two halves of 45 minutes each) is played and no winner is decided, the club with the higher ranking in the J2 season standings will be declared the winner to ensure the importance of the annual table. The winner will then be promoted to J1 for the 2024 season.

If neither of the two J2 clubs ranked top in the annual standings has a J1 club license, ① to ④ below are applied.
* Applies only to the 2023 season as the number of J1 League clubs will increase to 20 clubs from the 2024 season.

  1. If the four clubs have a J1 club license, the two clubs that win the Semi-final will be promoted to J1.
  2. If the three clubs have J1 club license, a match will be played between the lower two clubs in the J2 annual standings, and the winner and the remaining one club will be promoted to J1.
  3. If the two clubs have a J1 club license, two clubs will be promoted to J1.
  4. The Board of Directors will separately determine the handling of situations not stipulated above.

* If one of the J2 clubs that meet the requirements for automatic promotion does not receive a J1 club license, the club with the lowest annual ranking in J1 will not be relegated to J2 and the playoffs will be held according to the tournament format in the table above.


MEIJI YASUDA J2 LEAGUE (22 teams)

Format: Home and away round-robin tournament (42 matchweeks / 462 matches)

Dates: Saturday, February 18th - Sunday, November 12th

Venues: Matches will be played at the home stadium of each club in principle

Match format and determination of winners

In case a 90-minute match (two halves of 45 minutes each) is played and no winner is decided, the match ends in a tie.

Points

  • Winner: three (3) points
  • Tie: one (1) point
  • Loser: zero (0) points

Determination of annual standing

Ranking is determined by the total number of points at the end of the league, and the teams with a higher number of points are ranked at the top. However, teams with the same number of points are ranked based on the following factors, in order of priority.

  1. Goal difference
  2. Number of goals scored
  3. Head-to-head results (A: Points, B: Goal difference, C: Number of goals scored)
  4. Disciplinary points
  5. Draw

* A draw is conducted only when deemed necessary by the Board of Directors, for example, to determine the team to be relegated.

Promotion/Relegation between J1 and J2

  • The J1 club ranked lowest in the annual standings is relegated to J2, and the two J2 clubs ranked top in the annual standings and the winner of the J1 Promotion Play-Offs which takes place between the clubs ranked 3rd to 6th in the J2 annual standings will be promoted to J1.
  • If a club ranked 1st or 2nd in the J2 annual standings does not have a J1 club license, the following rules are applied:
    1. The J2 club in question cannot be promoted to J1 and the J1 club ranked lowest in the annual standings is not relegated to J2.
    2. If one of the two J2 clubs ranked top in the annual standings have a J1 club license, the applicable J2 club and winning club of J1 Promotion Play-Offs will be promoted to J1.
    3. If neither of the two J2 clubs ranked top in the annual standings has a J1 club license, two J2 clubs from J1 Promotion Play-Offs are promoted to J1.
  • If a club from among the clubs ranked 3rd to 6th in the J2 annual standings does not have a J1 club license, the following rules are applied:
    1. The J2 club in question cannot participate in the J1 Promotion Play-Offs.
    2. The clubs ranked 7th and below in the J2 annual standings cannot be moved up to participate in the J1 Promotion Play-Offs.

Promotion/Relegation between J2 and J3

  • The two J2 clubs ranked lowest in the annual standings are relegated to J3, and the two J3 clubs ranked top in the annual standings are promoted to J2.
  • If the two J3 clubs ranked top in the annual standings do not have a J2 club license, the J3 clubs in question cannot be promoted to J2. In this case, the J3 clubs ranked 3rd and below in the annual standings are not promoted to J2.
  • If only one of the two J3 clubs ranked top in the annual standings does not have a J2 club license, only the J2 club ranked the lowest in the annual standings is relegated to J3.
  • If neither of the two J3 clubs ranked top in the annual standings has a J2 club license, promotion and relegation between J2 and J3 will not take place.
J2 League Teams, Schedules and Matches

J2 League match format

J2 & J3 League Team Promoted and Relegated

MEIJI YASUDA J3 LEAGUE (20 teams)

Format: Home and away round-robin tournament (38 matchweeks / 380 matches)

Dates: Saturday, March 4th - Saturday, December 2nd

Venues: Matches will be played at the home stadium of each club in principle

Match format and determination of winners

In case a 90-minute match (two halves of 45 minutes each) is played and no winner is decided, the match ends in a tie.

Points

  • Winner: three (3) points
  • Tie: one (1) point
  • Loser: zero (0) points

Determination of annual standing

Ranking is determined by the total number of points at the end of the league, and the teams with a higher number of points are ranked at the top. However, teams with the same number of points are ranked based on the following factors, in order of priority.

  1. Goal difference
  2. Number of goals scored
  3. Head-to-head results (A: Points, B: Goal difference, C: Number of goals scored)
  4. Disciplinary points
  5. Draw

* A draw is conducted only when deemed necessary by the Board of Directors, for example, to determine the team to be relegated.

Promotion/Relegation between J2 and J3

  • The two J2 clubs ranked lowest in the annual standings are relegated to J3, and the two J3 clubs ranked top in the annual standings are promoted to J2.
  • If the two J3 clubs ranked top in the annual standings do not have a J2 club license, the J3 clubs in question cannot be promoted to J2. In this case, the J3 clubs ranked 3rd and below in the annual standings are not promoted to J2.
  • If only one of the two J3 clubs ranked top in the annual standings does not have a J2 club license, only the J2 club ranked the lowest in the annual standings is relegated to J3.
  • If neither of the two J3 clubs ranked top in the annual standings has a J2 club license, promotion and relegation between J2 and J3 will not take place.

J3 League Teams, Schedules and Matches

J3 League match format

J.LEAGUE YBC Levain CUP

Format: The 18 teams of J1 and 2 teams of J2 will participate

Group Stage

With the exclusion of the four teams participating in ACL (Kawasaki Frontale, Urawa Reds, Yokohama F. Marinos, Vissel Kobe), a total of 16 teams comprising 14 teams from J1 and two teams from J2 (the teams ranked 17th and 18th in the previous year) are divided into four groups. Each group plays in a home and away double round-robin league. Eight teams, comprising the top two teams from each group, advance to the Play-Off stage.

* Each group fixtures in the group stage are determined based on the rankings in the 2021 MEIJI YASUDA J1 and J2 LEAGUEs.

Date

  • 1st Sec. Wednesday, February 23
  • 2nd Sec. Wednesday, March 2
  • 3rd Sec. Saturday, March 26
  • 4th Sec. Wednesday, April 13
  • 5th Sec. Saturday, April 23
  • 6th Sec. Wednesday, May 18

Match format and determination of winners

In case a 90-minute match (two halves of 45 minutes each) is played and no winner is decided, the match ends in a tie.

Points

  • Winner: three (3) points
  • Tie: one (1) point
  • Loser: zero (0) points

Determination of ranking

Ranking is determined by the total number of points at the end of the group stage. The teams with a higher number of points are ranked at the top. However, teams with the same number of points are ranked based on the following, in order of priority.

  1. Points among teams with the same points
  2. Goal difference among teams with the same points
  3. Goals scored among teams with the same points
  4. Away goals among teams with the same points
    • If the ranking cannot be determined even with the application of (1) to (4) above, (1) to (4) are applied again only to the matches between the teams in question to determine the final ranking.
    • If the ranking remains undecided through this process, (5) to (9) below are applied.
  1. Goal difference for all matches within the group
  2. Goals scored for all matches within the group
  3. Penalty shoot-out if only two teams are involved in the determination of ranking, and both teams are on the field of play
  4. In order from the lowest number of disciplinary points
  5. Draw

Play-Off Stage

The top eight teams from the group stage play in two home and away matches. The four winning teams from the Play-Offs advance to the prime stage.

Play-Off Stage fixture

  • Group A 1st placed club vs. Group D 2nd placed club
  • Group B 1st placed club vs. Group C 2nd placed club
  • Group C 1st placed club vs. Group B 2nd placed club
  • Group D 1st placed club vs. Group A 2nd placed club

Date

  • 1st leg. Saturday, June 4
  • 2nd leg. Saturday, June 11

Match format and determination of winners

In case a 90-minute match (two halves of 45 minutes each) is played and no winner is decided, the match ends in a tie. The winner of the Play-Off stage is the team with the highest number of wins for two matches. If the number of wins is the same after the end of the second round, the ranking is determined based on the following, in order of priority.

  1. Goal difference for two matches
  2. Number of away goals
  3. 30-minute extra time (two halves of 15 minutes each) at the end of the second round
    * The away-goals rule is not applied in extra time
  4. Penalty shoot-out

(Five players from each team. If the winner is not decided, the sixth and subsequent players will take turns to kick until the winner is decided.)

Prime stage

Total of eight teams in which the four winning teams from the Play-Off stage and the four teams participating in the ACL (Kawasaki Frontale, Urawa Reds, Yokohama F. Marinos, Vissel Kobe) play in a home and away tournament. (There is only one match for the finals.)

Fixtures of Prime stage shall be determined following the draws after the Play-Off stage.

Date

  • Quarterfinals
    • 1st leg. Wednesday, August 3
    • 2nd leg. Wednesday, August 10
  • Semi-finals
    • 1st leg. Wednesday, September 21
    • 2nd leg. Sunday, September 25
  • Finals
    • Saturday, October 22

Match format and determination of winners

  • Quarterfinals, semifinals (home and away) The winner in each round is the team with the highest number of wins for two matches. If the number of wins is the same, the ranking is determined based on the following, in order of priority.
    1. Goal difference for two matches
    2. Number of away goals
    3. 30-minute extra time (two halves of 15 minutes each) at the end of the second round
      * The away-goals rule is not applied in extra time
    4. Penalty shoot-out
    5. (Five players from each team. If the winner is not decided, the sixth and subsequent players will take turns to kick until the winner is decided.)
  • Finals (One match) In case a 90-minute match (two halves of 45 minutes each) is played and no winner is decided, an extra 30 minutes (two halves of 15 minutes each) is played. If the winner is still not decided, the winner is decided by a penalty shoot-out.
    (Five players from each team. If the winner is not decided, the sixth and subsequent players will take turns to kick until the winner is decided.)
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