Tokyo Verdy still for Champions League if relegated

Japan Football Association president Saburo Kawabuchi has announced approval for Tokyo Verdy FC to play in next season's Asian Champions League even though if the club is relegated to Japan's second division.

Verdy, which booked a place in the ACL by winning the Emperor's Cup on 1 January, occupies one of the two automatic relegation spots with four matches left to play in the season.

Along with this year's J-League champions, the Emperor's Cup winners from the previous season receive an Asian berth, a system that Kawabuchi said may have to be reconsidered in order for the most recent winners to qualify.

"The Asian Football Confederation has said the Emperor's Cup winners have the legitimate right to play [in the ACL] and they also said there is no problem with the participation of a second-division team," Kawabuchi said in The Japan Times.

The bottom two teams J-League clubs are automatically relegated while the third from bottom plays a two-leg relegation-promotion playoff with the third-place finishers in the second division.