On March 24th, the Japanese V.LEAGUE announced the Leagues for the 2018-2019 season at the end of the Women’s All Star Game. With the Japanese league moving to a licensing system, this would be the final breakdown of the licenses that each team had met.
In December 2017 the V.LEAGUE had announced for the women’s V1 League (Top Division) that there would be a maximum of 12 teams. As the Forest Leaves Kumamoto ceased operations recently and had been one of the 14 teams with a S1 License which would have put them into the V1 League. There was some stipulation that the next highest ranked S1 team, JA Gifu Rioreina would be promoted to V1. However with today’s announced that there will only be 11 teams in V1, JA Gifu will be playing in the V2 League (second division) in 2018-2019.
The V1 League will be split into two conferences, Western and Eastern. Five teams will be in the Western Conference and six teams in the Eastern Conference. With the league targeting 21-22 matches, the Western Conference will play four matches against each team in their Conference (16) and one time each against the Eastern Conference (6) for 22 matches. The Eastern Conference will play each team in their Conference three times (15) and one time each against (5) for 20 matches. I expect that the Eastern Conference will have two additional matches against two Eastern Conference opponents to make it 22. Below is a breakdown of the different leagues.
There was a surprise announcement with the naming of Victorina Himeji as the last team of 10 in V2. Victorina Himeji had not been listed in December’s announcement of license levels, but the team must have applied before the deadline. Victorina had tried in the summer of 2017 to acquire Sendai Belle Fille’s spot in the Challenge League 1, but could not sign enough Sendai players in time to be approved for the 2017-2018 season. Victorina Himeji were given an S3 license, which is only given to new teams. However with no other new teams, they have been placed in the V2 League. If there were enough teams to have a third division (V3) then new teams would be placed there. V2 teams will play their opponents two times (18 matches) before the playoffs.
At this time there is no information about promotion or relegation, but teams will need to pass the different license requirements to be promoted.
Below is a geographical map of the teams broke down by division.