The four teams struggling at the bottom of J.League Division 2 may have been breathing a little more easily in recent weeks, as the Japan Football League approached the final third of the season. With nineteen games played, last season’s runners-up AC Nagano Parceiro sat astride the top of the table after four consecutive victories, four points clear of J.League Associate Members V-Varen. The Nagasaki outfit, members of the third tier of Japanese football since 2009 and whose application for membership was approved in the same year, had a game in hand on the league leaders, one scheduled to be played played on 5 September against fellow Associate Members Kamatamare Sanuki after their previous contest was postponed owing to awful weather conditions. Should they have stayed second position until the culmination of the league campaign, they would have been required to enter a play-off with the bottom-placed team in Division Two, providing for the possibility that no team would be relegated.
Furthermore, a decline in form for what had been one of only two Associate Members had seen Kamatamare drop to sixth place in the table, likely ending their prospects of automatic promotion and jeopardising their hopes of securing a play-off place. Even a victory in the re-scheduled fixture against V-Varen was unlikely to see them to close the gap separating the teams, as results on 21 and 22 July extended V-Varen’s advantage to nine points. This enhanced the potential for only one Division Two team to face a potential relegation battle.
On 23 July, AC Nagano Parceiro, whose previous application for Associate Membership had been declined, saw their application approved by the J.League board. However, Parceiro will be unable to ascend to J.League Division 2 should they end the season in an automatic promotion or play-off place, as their current home ground, the Nagano Minami Sports Park Stadium, does not meet the minimum capacity requirements of 10,000, with redevelopment works not expected to be completed until 2016. Nonetheless, the 2012 season is the first in which relegation from J2 is possible, and now FC Gifu, Kataller Toyama, Gainare Tottori and FC Machida Zelvia face a desperate fight to avoid becoming an historic statistic in the J.League.
|1||AC Nagano Parceiro||20||8||2||2||25||9||6||0||2||13||8||+21||44|
|3||Sagawa Shiga FC||20||6||0||4||22||11||4||4||2||15||12||+14||34|
|6||Sony Sendai FC||19||4||5||1||8||4||4||3||2||14||9||+9||32|
|8||Sagawa Printing SC||20||4||4||1||11||6||4||2||5||13||18||+0||30|
|9||MIO Biwako Shiga||20||2||4||3||12||16||6||1||4||24||16||+4||29|
|13||Hoyo AC Elan Oita||19||1||3||5||6||21||4||3||3||13||10||-12||21|
|14||Yokogawa Musashino FC||19||2||2||5||8||16||3||4||3||10||14||-12||21|
|16||Honda Lock SC||20||2||0||9||9||23||1||3||5||8||16||-22||12|
|17||Tochigi Uva FC||20||1||3||7||11||26||0||3||6||7||22||-30||9|