It has been recently announced that Riot Korea is introducing three new policies to the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) to build a “sustainable virtuous cycle ecosystem” for all League of Legends teams, players, and the league.
This might come as a surprise for a lot of people because the LCK is already considered to be one of the best League of Legends competitive leagues in the world. While we still don’t know what kind of real impact this will have on the league, Riot Korea seems to be pretty sure about going through with these changes.
Rookie Development Clause
According to the LCK, this clause will guarantee playing time for active players, which enables teams to “discover and invest” in new players. This is aimed towards players with less than one split of experience in the league or less than one year of experience in foreign pro leagues like North America’s LCS and Europe’s LEC. To be eligible, players must play more than 50 percent of the total LCK CL games in one split (LCK’s secondary league) or 25 percent of the total LCK games in one split. But it’s up to teams to decide whether or not they should exercise this clause.
Once it’s activated, teams will “have the right” to extend the contract of a player for the next two years, guaranteeing a “steady salary increase” and continuous playing time during the period. If players aren’t given the minimum playing time, they’ll be free to terminate the contract and move on as free agents.
LCK Agent Certification
The Korean league will also be introducing the “LCK Agent Certification” system, which is designed to appoint and manage agents and represent players. This sets out to “ensure the rights of players” by appointing and regulating official agents. Those who pass an exam administered by the Korea Esports Association (KeSPA) will be free to represent players as official agents for up to two years.
These official agents will be in charge of player salaries and contracts and will be obligated to attend seminars, report profits, and report contracts and disputes. If agents are caught in any illegal activity, such as “tampering,” “unauthorized disclosure of information,” or “infringement of the rights and interest of players,” they may be subject to disciplinary action.
LCK Pre-contract Policy
The “LCK Pre-contract Policy” is the third and final new policy, which will allow teams to “determine the destination” of key players. This policy, according to the LCK, will help teams to “build” and maintain” rosters. Teams will be able to extend contracts or recruit “key players” at an earlier stage than before. If a player chooses to join a new team, a transfer fee will be paid and the team will be able to reinvest in strengthening the roster ahead of the next season. Players with contracts expiring at the end of the year will be eligible for this, but each team can only select one player on their roster.
A few big names in the esports scene have already commented on this matter, and some of them find it a bit puzzling. One of them is Christopher Kjell Mykles, better known by his nickname MonteCristo, who is an esports league commissioner and former color commentator, analyst, and organization owner. “Enjoy the outrageous new #LCK policies that quite clearly only benefit the teams and are designed to suppress player market value. There is NO benefit to the players that they couldn’t negotiate in their own deals“, stated Christopher on Twitter.
We still don’t know when these policies will be activated, but if we take a look at the current status of the LCK, we’ll most likely won’t see them in effect until the 2023 season begins.