Japan Football League (1992–98)

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Japan Football League
Country Japan Japan
Confederation AFC
Founded 1992
Folded 1998
Divisions 2 (1992–1993)
1 (1994–1998)
Number of teams 16
Levels on pyramid 2–3 (1992–1993)
2 (1994–1998)
Feeder to J. League
Relegation to Japanese Regional Leagues
Domestic cup(s) Emperor's Cup
J. League Cup (associates)
Last champions Tokyo Gas
Most championships 7 clubs
(1 title each)
For the league after 1999 (Nihon futtobōru Līgu (日本フットボールリーグ?), referred to in this page as "the new JFL") see Japan Football League.
Vissel Kobe vs. NTT Kanto F.C. at Kobe Universiade Memorial Stadium in 1995

The former Japan Football League (ジャパンフットボールリーグ Japan Futtobōru Līgu?) was an association football league that existed from 1992 to 1998. Also known as the JFL, it was the 2nd tier of the Japanese football hierarchy following J. League.


When the Japan Football Association decided to found a professional football league, the Japan Soccer League (JSL), the top-flight league until the 1991/92 season, was reorganised into two newly formed leagues. One was the Japan Professional Football League as known as J. League, the first-ever professional football league in Japan. The other was the former Japan Football League.

Out of twenty eight clubs who were the members of the JSL division 1 and 2, nine along with independent Shimizu S-Pulse formed J. League, one (Yomiuri Junior) was merged with their parent club, and the other eighteen chose not to be professional, at least at that time. They played the inaugural 1992 season of the former JFL together with Osaka Gas and Seino Transportation, the top two places in the Regional Promotion Series. The initial configuration was two divisions of 10 clubs each, but from 1994, the format was changed to a single division of 16 clubs.

The former JFL ceased to exist at the end of the 1998 season when J. League Division 2 was formed. Out of 16 teams who played the last season of the former JFL, 9 decided and were accepted to play in J2 and the other 7 teams joined the new JFL.

Championship, promotion and relegation history[edit]

Season Champions Runners-up Promoted to J. League after the season Promoted from Regional Leagues before the season Relegated to Regional Leagues after the season
1992 Div. 1-Yamaha
Div. 2-Chuo Bohan Fujieda
Div. 1-Hitachi S.C.
Div. 2-Kyoto Shiko Club
None Osaka Gas
Seino Transportation
Tanabe Pharmaceutical S.C.
Osaka Gas S.C.
1993 Div. 1-Bellmare Hiratsuka
Div. 2-Honda F.C.
Div. 1-Jubilo Iwata
Div. 2-PJM
Toyota Higashifuji
Toho Titanium S.C.
NKK F.C. (disbanded)
Toyota Higashifuji (disbanded)
1994 Cerezo Osaka Kashiwa Reysol Cerezo
NEC Yamagata S.C. None
1995 Fukuoka Blux Kyoto Purple Sanga Fukuoka
Brummell Sendai
Fukushima F.C.
1996 Honda F.C. Vissel Kobe Kobe Nippon Denso F.C.
Oita F.C.
Cosmo Oil Yokkaichi (disbanded)
Tosu Futures (disbanded)
1997 Consadole Sapporo Tokyo Gas F.C. Sapporo Prima Ham F.C. Tsuchiura
Jatco F.C.
Sagan Tosu (new club, replaces Tosu Futures)
Fukushima F.C. (disbanded)
Seino Transportation F.C. (disbanded)
1998 Tokyo Gas F.C. Kawasaki Frontale None Albirex Niigata
Sony Sendai F.C.,
Kokushikan Univ. S.C. (recommended by Univ. Assoc.)
*The following clubs were admitted to the new J. League Division 2: Brummell Sendai (Vegalta Sendai), Montedio Yamagata, Omiya Ardija, Tokyo Gas F.C. (F.C. Tokyo), Kawasaki Frontale, Ventforet Kofu, Albirex Niigata, Sagan Tosu, Oita F.C. (Oita Trinita)

See also[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Japan Soccer League Second Division
Second tier of Japanese football
Succeeded by
J. League Division 2