95th Emperor’s Cup schedule announced

95th Emperor’s Cup schedule announced

The Japan Football Association on Thursday revealed the bracket for the first three rounds of the 95th Emperor’s Cup.

Japan’s longest-running football tournament will feature 88 participants in 2015, including all 40 MEJI YASUDA J1 and J2 clubs, one seeded team, and 47 prefectural representatives.

The first round of the single-elimination tournament will take place on August 29 and 30, with the final taking place on January 1, 2016 at Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo.

AFC Champions League quarterfinalists Gamba Osaka and Kashiwa Reysol plus MEIJI YASUDA J1 League first stage winners Urawa Reds and runners-up FC Tokyo will be seeded directly into the round of 16.

Based on the results of the 2014 season, Matsumoto Yamaga and Montedio Yamagata will join all 22 MEIJI YASUDA J2 League clubs in participating from the first round.

As a result of changes to tournament regulations, high school and youth teams will no longer be able to participate in the tournament, bringing an end to a practice which began in 1996.

Pairings for the fourth round (round of 16) and beyond will be announced following the conclusion of the third round.

Last term’s Treble winners Gamba are the defending champions after beating Montedio in last year’s final.