J. League Championship

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The J. League Championship was a two-legged championship series which determined the season champion for the first 12 J. League seasons (1993-2004) excluding the 1996 season. In the early years, the J.League seasons were divided into two halves, the first and second stages, and the champions of each stage participated in the series. The competition did not take place in 1996, since the single season format was used in that year. Japanese beer company Suntory sponsored the championship, thus the name Suntory Championship was used in the media and among the general public.

As mentioned, the winners of this competition became the champions of the respective season, while the finalist became the runners-up. As for the rest of the table, points from both stages were summed up to rank the clubs from 3rd place down. In 2000, this format created an unusual situation where the 3rd place club, Kashiwa Reysol, had more points than both the season champion and runners-up in the final standing.

The series usually took place at the beginning of December, with the exception of the 1993 season, when it was held, due to the 1993 World Cup Qualifiers, in January.

This series has been defunct since 2004, as the league adopted the single season format starting with the 2005 season.

Results[edit]

  • The winners are in bold.
  • Venues are indicated in brackets after the score line.
  • "v" indicates that a golden goal decided the match.
Season 1st stage
winners
Aggregate
(Extra time & PK)
1st leg
score
2nd leg
score
2nd stage
winners
Note
1993 Kashima Antlers 1-3 0-2
(National)
1-1
(National)
Verdy Kawasaki
1994 Sanfrecce Hiroshima 0-2 0-1
(Hiroshima)
0-1
(National)
Verdy Kawasaki
1995 Yokohama Marinos 2-0 1-0
(National)
1-0
(National)
Verdy Kawasaki
1997 Kashima Antlers 2-4 2-3v
(Iwata)
0-1
(Kashima)
Jubilo Iwata A draw decided who would play the home game first.
1998 Jubilo Iwata 2-4 1-2v
(National)
1-2
(Kashima)
Kashima Antlers
1999 Jubilo Iwata 3-3
PK 4-2
2v-1
(Iwata)
1-2v
(Nihondaira)
Shimizu S-Pulse PK shoot-out was required to decide the winner.
(No extra time was played)
2000 Yokohama F. Marinos 0-3 0-0
(Yokohama)
0-3
(National)
Kashima Antlers
2001 Jubilo Iwata 2-2
ET 0-1v
2-2
(Shizuoka)
0-0
(Kashima)
Kashima Antlers Extra time (with the golden goal rule) was required
to decide the winner.
2002 No competition because Jubilo Iwata won both stages.
2003 No competition because Yokohama F. Marinos won both stages.
2004 Yokohama F. Marinos 1-1
ET 0-0
PK 4-2
1-0
(Yokohama)
0-1
(Saitama)
Urawa Red Diamonds Extra time (with the golden goal rule) and
PK shoot-out were required to decide the winner.

Clubs who won the most points through a season[edit]

There are only two occurrences where the club that won the most points in the season also won the championship. They are the 1993 and 1994 seasons, both won by Verdy Kawasaki. The following table shows the clubs that won the most points through a season.

Season Club
1993 Verdy Kawasaki
1994 Verdy Kawasaki
1995 Verdy Kawasaki
1996 Kashima Antlers
1997 Kashima Antlers
1998 Jubilo Iwata
1999 Shimizu S-Pulse
2000 Kashiwa Reysol
2001 Jubilo Iwata
2002 Jubilo Iwata
2003 Yokohama F. Marinos
2004 Urawa Red Diamonds

In the 2000 season, although Kashiwa Reysol won the most points through the season, they could not take part in the J. League Championship because they failed to win either stage. In fact, Jubilo Iwata also won more points through the season than Yokohama F. Marinos and Kashima Antlers who qualified for the Championship. According to the regulation, the official league rankings of Kashiwa and Iwata of that season are third and fourth respectively.

Suntory Cup '96 J. League Champions' Finals[edit]

As the 1996 season wasn't divided into stages, the J. League Championship did not take place. Instead, the competition titled the Suntory Cup '96 J. League Champions' Finals was held. The champions and runners-up of the 1996 J. League regular season as well as the finalists of the J. League Cup took part. Nagoya Grampus Eight won and qualified for the 1997 Sanwa Bank Cup.

Participating clubs

Results

Home Score
(Venue)
Away
Semi-finals Kashima Antlers 1-1
PK 4-2
(Kashima)
Verdy Kawasaki
Shimizu S-Pulse 0-0
PK 1-3
(Nihondaira)
Nagoya Grampus Eight
Final Kashima Antlers 0-1v
(National)
Nagoya Grampus Eight

References[edit]

See also[edit]