Framework of Entry Conditions to New League

01 July 2020 Updated : The new league is rescheduled to be launched in January 2022.

06 February 2020

To whom it may concern,

The Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) is pleased to inform you that it has announced to the media “the framework for the condition to entry into the new league launching in autumn 2021” on Tuesday, January 28, 2020.

Following the recent decision made by the JRFU to launch a new league in autumn 2021, we have provided relevant explanations of it as well as the framework of its conditions to entry to the teams currently participating in the Japan Rugby Top League.

To achieve the JRFU’s goal to host the Rugby World Cup again and win the tournament, the new league is going to be established to reorganise the Japanese domestic league expansively. By having such new league, we are determined to seek all the possibilities for the further development of Japan rugby, with a view to grow the decreasing participating population and broaden the base in such an aged society with fewer children, as well as to contribute to the development of the Japan national team. Having own home by each team is also about pursuing how the game of rugby should be so that it could be loved and appreciated by not only existing fans but also by local people in the society. What is provided with is just a framework only at this stage, but more details will be finalized carefully but boldly in consultation with various related parties and we will keep you updated as soon as they are confirmed.

We will be creating a more exciting league while maintaining the momentum of rugby popularity which has been created by having the RWC 2019 in Japan. We would be very much appreciated if you continue to give your kind attention and support to Japan rugby.

Please see the outline of the framework of condition entry into the new league below.

Should you have any enquires including the new entrants, please contact

Mayumi Taniguchi, Ph.D.

Head of the Preparatory Office for New League Incorporation

Japan Rugby Football Union

【Conditions entry into the new league – outline】

 1. Management Function

  • Each participating entity shall have its business functions.
  • Business functions mean; (i) appointing a person responsible for all of its team operation and profit-making business, (ii) having a clear cash flow, and, (iii) having its system to promote and organize the matches (i.e., profit-making business). A business plan shall be created.
  • Not only the teams belonging to the Japan Rugby Top League/Top Challenge League but also teams/clubs outside these existing company leagues could apply to entry into the new league.


2. Team Name

  • A name of home area shall be included in a team name.
  • Using a company’s name leaves to each team’s option.


3. Home Area

  • Each team shall identify its home area for 2021 season and after.


4. Stadium

  • Each team shall secure a stadium where it could stage its home games for 2021 season.
  • More than a stadium could be identified as home stadiums of a team provided that such stadiums locate in its home area.
  • Target number of attendances for Division 1: more than 15,000 per match.
  • In consideration of the above target number of attendance, union(s), the new league’s body and teams will work closely to be able to secure stadiums with a capacity of more than 15,000 by 2023 season.
  • If a team has difficulties to stage a match at its home area in 2021/2022 seasons, its shall consult with the new league’s body who will approve another domestic stadium with priority use for rugby to stage such match.
  • The new league’s body and unions will support each participating body in every aspect to ensure all bodies have a stadium each.


5. Operation

  • Each team shall set up its team office, finance, match/event operation, media, marketing teams and/or divisions.


N/BConditions for Division 1 and 2 of the new league

  • The new league shall review each applications based on to what degree the entry conditions are met for Division 1 (10±2 teams), Divisions 2 (10±2teams), and for Division 3 as the case may be.
  • The number of divisions and the number of teams in each division shall be determined based on the number of expressions of intention to entry as well as participation plan and the result of reviewing them.
  • The league may make a decision to accept not to require a team with difficult to fulfil the conditions to meet all of them, provided that such team belongs to the lower division (If the league has two divisions, Division 2).