Riot Korea introduces strict new LCK rules for transfers, rookies, and agents

Meg Kay
T1 LCK 2022 SummerRiot Games

On July 25, the LCK released a video detailing three new policies designed to “build a sustainable virtuous cycle ecosystem” within Korean pro LoL.

Midway through the 2022 Summer split, the League of Legends Championship Korea has introduced three brand-new policies aimed at stabilizing the competitive ecosystem in the region.

The policies are focused around the competitive offseason and trade of players, and look to “build a sustainable virtuous cycle ecosystem for all teams, players and the league”.

They focus on three key aspects of player transfers and offseason moves: rookie player development, player agent certification, and a new pre-contract policy that allows offseason discussions to begin earlier in the year for certain players.

The rookie development and agent certification clauses will be implemented in time for the 2022 offseason, with the pre-contract policy coming into effect in 2023.

The rookie development clause

The first of the LCK’s new policies looks to aid the development of rookie talent for teams, and provide stability for young players in the offseason market. The LCK describes it as enabling teams to “discover and invest” in new players, and guarantees a set amount of on-stage game time for rookies under contract to LCK organizations.

The policy applies to players with less than one split of LCK experience, or less than one year of experience in another region – with players becoming eligible after playing more 50% of LCK Challengers games in one split (or 25 percent of LCK games).

Once these conditions have been met, it is up to the player’s organization whether they choose to activate the rookie development clause. Once activated, the clause allows a rookie’s team to extend their contract for two years, and guarantees the player a “steady salary increase and continuous playing time” for the duration of their contract.

If the team fails to meet the minimum guaranteed playing time, the player is released from the clause and may terminate their contract.

LCK agent certification

This policy looks to streamline and certify all prospective LCK player agents with standardized testing.

Those who wish to become an LCK player agent (and those who are already working as agents) will now need to sit an official examination, administered by KeSPA, in order to work as an agent. Once passed, their certification will last for two years, and during that time they will be able to work freely as player agents.

The LCK will also introduce regular seminars for player agents, and will ensure that they are regularly reporting all profits made from agency work alongside any potential contracts or contract disputes.

This clause also allows the LCK to administer disciplinary action for any agents found to be tampering with player contracts, disclosing confidential information, or infringing on the best interests of the players they represent.

LCK Pre-contract policy

The last, and perhaps the most impactful, of the LCK’s new policies is the ‘Pre-contract policy’.

Designed to “help teams build and maintain competitive rosters”, it allows players whose contracts are set to expire at the end of that year to enter the offseason market early. The policy can be applied to one eligible player within a team.

After all teams in the league have designated their pre-contract player, the LCK will announce every player within the policy publicly. Teams are then given a negotiation period, and then a final contract offer is made by the player’s original team. Trade requests can also be made by non-LCK teams during this time, but players retain final say over any possible contracts offered.

Signing a player during this pre-contract period will cost teams a transfer fee, which is increased for foreign teams looking to sign LCK pros during this period.