Japanese Non-league Football News

Regional League Play-off Groups Announced
After the conclusion over the weekend of the Kyushu League campaign, the JFA have confirmed the draw and fixture list for the forthcoming Regional League Championship Winners' Play-off tournament, which will decide which teams are to be promoted from the Regional Leagues to the JFL. The format of the competition - which is to be staged in Hiroshima - splits the fourteen participating teams into four groups for the First Round stage, with each group winner qualifying for a further round robin group.

At present it is not clear how many sides will move up to the JFL, given the uncertainty surrounding the number of teams that might gain promotion from the JFL to J2 itself. That said, it is likely that at least two top Regional League clubs will have the opportunity to follow FC Gifu and TDK SC up into the third tier of Japan's footballing pyramid, with the possibility, too, of an extra team having the opportunity to play-off against JFL strugglers Arte Takasaki.

This, for the moment, is speculation and for the time being the contenders will be preparing for the challenge of playing what for some of them amounts to three vital matches in three days. But picking favourites pre-competition is a difficult task this year, with enough wildcards throwing in a degree of genuine unpredictability. It could be argued that Chugoku's Fagiano Okayama and Kansai League champions Banditonce Kobe are the most likely teams to succeed.

But Honda Lock and New Wave Kitakyushu will be strong representatives from Kyushu, FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu are fresh from an impressive Shakaijin win and FC Machida Zelvia, Matsumoto Yamaga Club and Tokushima Vortis Amateur - from Kanto, Hokushinetsu and Shikoku respectively - all look set to be the best teams to come from their regions for some years. Below is a full list of participants and the First Round fixtures.


Banditonce Kobe - Kansai League champions
Fagiano Okayama - Chugoku League champions
FC Central Chugoku - Chugoku League runners-up
FC Machida Zelvia - Kanto League champions
FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu - All-Japan Shakaijin winners
Grulla Morioka - Tohoku League champions
Honda Lock - Kyushu League runners-up
Matsumoto Yamaga Club - Hokushinetsu League champions
NEC Tokin - Tohoku League runners-up
New Wave Kitakyushu - Kyushu League champions
Norbritz Hokkaido - Hokkaido League champions
Shizuoka FC - Tokai League champions
Tokushima Vortis Amateur - Shikoku League champions
Yazaki Valente - Tokai League runners-up

Group A

Fri 23 Nov: Grulla Morioka - Fagiano Okayama
Sat 24 Nov: Grulla Morioka - Honda Lock
Sun 25 Nov: Fagiano Okayama - Honda Lock

Group B

Fri 23 Nov: Yazaki Valente - New Wave Kitakyushu
Sat 24 Nov: Yazaki Valente - NEC Tokin
Sun 25 Nov: New Wave Kitakyushu - NEC Tokin

Group C

Fri 23 Nov: FC Machida Zelvia - Banditonce Kobe
Fri 23 Nov: Shizuoka FC - Norbritz Hokkaido
Sat 24 Nov: FC Machida Zelvia - Shizuoka FC
Sat 24 Nov: Banditonce Kobe - Norbritz Hokkaido
Sun 25 Nov: FC Machida Zelvia - Norbritz Hokkaido
Sun 25 Nov: Banditonce Kobe - Shizuoka FC

Group D

Fri 23 Nov: FC Central Chugoku - FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu
Fri 23 Nov: Matsumoto Yamaga Club - Tokushima Vortis Amateur
Sat 24 Nov: FC Central Chugoku - Matsumoto Yamaga Club
Sat 24 Nov: FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu - Tokushima Vortis Amateur
Sun 25 Nov: FC Central Chugoku - Tokushima Vortis Amateur
Sun 25 Nov: FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu - Matsumoto Yamaga Club

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