Japanese Non-league Football News

From Singapore To Mizushima
Mitusbishi Mizushima have announced the signing from Albirex Niigata Singapore of defender Takeru Arai. In the meantime, the Okayama prefecture-based club have indicated that they are targetting a 14th-place finish in this season's expanded JFL.

J-League Associate Membership - More Details Announced
Some more information has been announced about the J-League's newly-approved plan to offer associate membership to non-league clubs who meet particular criteria and who have the intention of applying for J-League membership. At the JFL's season opening ceremony at JFA headquarters on Sunday, five JFL clubs - namely Tochigi SC, SC Tottori, Arte Takasaki, FC Ryukyu and Rosso Kumamoto - indicated that they were moving towards associate membership, while it is thought that Rosso are already in a position to achieve such a status when it becomes available on 1st May.

14 Mar 06 - Here come the men in suits...

Here come the men in suits... the JFL coaches meet

It is thought that in the future, it will not be possible for non-league clubs to apply for J-League membership without first becoming associate members. Moreover, clubs need to be at at least Regional League level, to have a suitable home stadium and to be independent corporations. Associate members will then be able to take advantage of advisers whose purpose is to guide them towards full J-League membership.

This however seems to open the door for clubs to achieve promotion direct from the Regional Leagues to the J-League itself, bypassing the JFL altogether, although it is understood that stipulations with regard to average crowd size and annual budget will apply equally to Regional League teams as they would to clubs in the JFL.
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