A total of 25 teams have declared their intent to compete in a new rugby league that will take the place of the current Japan Rugby Top League, one of the new body's organizers revealed Wednesday.
All 16 of the current Top League teams and all eight of the second-tier Top Challenge clubs were joined by regional corporate club Chugoku Electric Power, said Mayumi Taniguchi, director of the new league's development office.
Taniguchi also said the start of the new league is being planned for January 2022 instead of fall 2021 on account of the novel coronavirus pandemic and the one-year postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, now scheduled to start in July 2021.
The new establishment will be divided into three tiers, with the numbers in each tier to be announced this year. The documents teams submitted included details about their base of operations and home stadiums. These will be evaluated, and along with the results of the next Top League season, slated to run from January to May, will be considered in allocating teams to the different tiers.
Taniguchi also expects none of the first 25 teams to be excluded when the league begins operating, while new teams will be recruited to join from the second season on.