League of Legends Champions Korea has announced that it is introducing three new policies to the LCK, with the scope to “build a sustainable [and] virtuous cycle ecosystem for all teams.” However, some fans are concerned that one of the changes could leave rookie talents in contract jail.
First up is the main policy causing a stir – the ‘Rookie Development Clause’. This will give teams the right to extend player contracts for two years should they play in over 25% of LCK games (or 50% of LCK CL games). As part of the clause, players will be guaranteed “a steady salary increase and continuous playing time.”
However, as pointed out by Redditor ‘asjdkasfkldsfs’, locking down players for a long time could keep rookies who develop into top talent on a lower wage than what they would earn from other domestic or international opportunities. As ‘Derk08’ suggests, this could result in rookies only opting to join top level teams now out of fear that they could end up trapped on lower-tier teams for their prime years.
Next we have ‘LCK Agent Certification’, which “is a system designed to ensure the rights of the players by appointing and regulating official agents with professional expertise”. After passing a KeSPA-administered exam, agents will be allowed to represent players for up to two years. Punishments for wrongdoings by agents will subsequently be doled out by KeSPA itself.
Finally, there’s the ‘LCK Pre-Contract Policy’. Players entering the last year of their current contract can now be approached by other teams before the official transfer period opens, or choose to sign a new contract with their existing team if they do not want to enter free agency at the end of the year. You can check out the full video explainer below, or the transcript provided by ‘Tmaann’ here.
Though we have yet to see how the new policies pan out, parts of the community have clearly met them with a level of cynicism.