Troubled Verdy allowed to stay in J-League

TOKYO, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Debt-ridden former Japanese champions Tokyo Verdy have been given the green light to play in domestic competition next year by the J-League.

A special J-League board meeting on Friday approved Verdy's continued business operations after the division two club signed a sponsorship deal with a sports store chain.

J-League administrators also said Verdy's promotion to the top flight would be approved if they finished in the top three.

Verdy, Japanese champions in 1993 and 1994, are currently fifth in the second division.

Last year Nippon Television Network Corp., which held a 98.8 percent stake in the club, withdrew their financial backing.

The J-League had ordered Verdy to secure sponsorship revenue of at least 540 million yen ($6.66 million) but they failed to do so.

Verdy president Hideyuki Hanyu outlined an increased budget of 800 million yen after recently signing a five-year sponsorship deal with Xebio sports.

Japanese sport has been hit hard by the global financial crisis, which has seen the world's largest carmaker Toyota and Japan's number two manufacturer Honda quit Formula One.

Subaru, Suzuki and Kawasaki have also pulled out of motorsport, while local soccer, rugby and ice hockey have all felt the economic pinch.