The J.League on Tuesday announced the format for the 2017 J.League YBC Levain Cup, featuring several changes intended to increase the competitiveness of the tournament.
As in recent seasons, the tournament will open with a round-robin group stage featuring clubs not participating in the 2017 AFC Champions League.
This phase will take place between March 15 and May 31, with all matches taking place on Wednesdays.
The winners of each group will advance to the knockout stage, while second and third place finishers from each group will face off in a two-legged playoff on June 28 and July 26.
The group stage and playoff stage winners will join Japan’s ACL representatives in the knockout stage, which will begin on August 30 with the first leg of the quarterfinals.
The league has also announced that clubs will be required whenever possible to field at least one Under-21 player in their starting lineup, a regulation intended to increase playing opportunities for young players ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Schedule for the 2017 J.League YBC Levain Cup:
MD1: March 15 (Wed)
MD2: April 12 (Wed)
MD3: April 26 (Wed)
MD4: May 3 (Wed, Holiday)
MD5: May 10 (Wed)
MD6: May 24 (Wed)
MD7: May 31 (Wed)
First Leg: June 28 (Wed)
Second Leg: July 26 (Wed)
QF 1st Leg: August 30 (Wed)
QF 2nd Leg: September 3 (Sun)
SF 1st Leg: Oct 4 (Wed)
SF 2nd Leg: Oct 8 (Sun)
Final: To Be Announced