Earlier this week, we at VolleyMob had written about Victorina Himeji purchasing the bankrupt club Sendai Belle Fille, to enter the second division Japan’s volleyball league, the V-League Challenge League 1, the second tier of Japanese volleyball.
One of the requirements for Victorina was to take 8 of the players from Sendai Belle Fille and reach contract agreements with them. By August 3rd, Victorina had only been able to have 2 players to agree to play for Victorina.
On August 10, the V-League Board of Directors announced that after looking at the number of players that had not signed with Victorina Himeji by August 9th, Victorina Himeji would not be allowed to join the Challenge League 1 in 2017-2018.
The V-League announced the Challenge League 1 would compete with only 7 teams due to Victorina Himeji not taking Sendai’s spot in the league. Scheduling for Challenge League had been published with Victorina last week and it is now being revised.
If Victorina had been able to take over Sendai’s players, it would have been the first time in Japan that a club team had transferred to another club team. Teams have changed sponsors, and retained their spots in the league. Additionally, teams have lost sponsors and continued as club teams and still retained their spots.
This was a massive gamble for Victorina Himeji, due to the time constraints, more or less 2-3 months from understanding the financial challenges with Sendai, to going to the V-League with this proposal, then trying to sign the players after many had been listed as free agents. However, even if Victorina had brought in these players, it would have been highly unlikely that they would have won promotion to the Premier League (top division) in 2017-2018. Sendai had been a distant 4th place (11 wins and 32 points behind promoted Ageo and Denso) in an 8-team league.