INTERREGIONAL ANTI-POACHING AND ANTI-TAMPERING POLICY
What is the interregional anti-poaching and anti-tampering policy?
No team member or affiliate of a team may engage in the solicitation, luring, or discussion of employment of a player who is under a league-recognized contract with a professional team competing in the top-level league of a region. Similarly, players under league-recognized contracts cannot solicit or reach out directly to other team members or affiliates of other teams. In the event of prolonged discussions of employment that aren't sanctioned by the management of both teams, both the party attempting to poach and the player being poached will be subject to penalties at the discretion of league officials.
Should any interested team wish to engage in conversation with a player under a league-recognized contract with another team, they must first contact the management of the team holding the contract.
After the teams have come to an agreement and before initiating contact between the interested team and player of interest, they must notify their respective regional office of the agreement, with confirmation from both teams' management via email.
Prospective teams and team affiliates (owners seeking to enter a league, etc.) attempting to poach players will also be subject to sanctions, up to and including denial of entry into Riot-sanctioned leagues and competitive events.
If I'm interested in acquiring a player, how do I know if he or she is currently under contract?
As a team, you can inquire about the availability of players - it just needs to be to the player's management so long as that player is under contract.
The database linked above contains the contract end-dates of contracted players currently participating in leagues where there are league-recognized contracts (i.e., contracts that conform with league minimum standards, such as minimum player compensation). It also includes contact information for teams who have volunteered contact information. It will be updated at the beginning of every split and periodically during the split to reflect roster modifications.
This database is intended as a resource to facilitate legitimate communication between teams and players. Where there is good reason to believe a player is under a league-recognized contract despite not being in the database (e.g. a brand new player in a league with officially-recognized contracts not yet having his or her information reflected in the database), teams are expected to contact management rather than approach players directly.
If I'm a contracted player interested in leaving my team, what are my options?
While contracted players cannot reach out to other teams' affiliates, they can:
- Publicly state their interest in leaving their team and encourage any and all interested party to contact their management.
- Players cannot encourage specific teams, publicly or privately, to reach out to their management.
- Exercise a buyout clause in their contract to leave their team if one exists.
- Reach out to teams once their contract expires (typically during the off-season for most players).
Clarification of restrictions:
- Teams and affiliates of those teams cannot engage in discussions with players under contract regarding potential employment.
- Teams are to reach out to other teams directly regarding employment of contracted players.
- Players under contract with a team should not engage in employment discussion directly with other teams.
- Players not under contract are free to reach out to potential employers and vice-versa.
Why do you have the current poaching policy?
Poaching protections are important both for the stability of organizations and to avoid competitive integrity issues. During the season, it's important that players aren't being distracted from their preparation or being tempted to play at less than 100% by offers of employment from rival teams.
When players and teams sign a contract they are entering into an agreement that a player will play for a team during a defined period of time and be duly compensated for their play - players abruptly dissolving their contracts due to employment discussions with other teams during the season creates a chaotic environment for teams and players and undermines the stability of the competitive ecosystem.
This doesn't mean that we want to prevent players from ever switching teams or finding the team that is the best fit for them - discussing the possibility of being traded to another team with their management, or simply waiting until their current contract is up before engaging in any negotiation they want. For players whose contract includes a buyout clause, that's an option they may be able to exercise as well. Ultimately, the value of contracts goes both ways. For players, contracts provide stability and the promise of a paycheck. For teams, contracts guarantee that contracted players play for their team and if a player wants to leave a team, the team management are a necessary part of that discussion. This is an important dynamic to preserve, and poaching protections are one way of doing so.
INTERREGIONAL MOVEMENT POLICY
1.2 REGIONAL RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT & WORK ELIGIBILITY
a) Resident Defined. For purposes of this Rule 1.2, a player is deemed to be a "Resident" of a region if such player has legally resided and been primarily present in such region for no less than twenty-four months out of the thirty-six months immediately prior to such players' participation in the first game of the applicable tournament (i.e., a match in the World Championship Event, LCS, or Challenger Series).
In defining a Resident, we sought to create a policy that defines Residents based on sustained and prolonged presence with a region, rather than citizenship or legal documentation. This policy makes sure that Residents not only have resided in the region whose league they wish to play in for a substantial period of time, it also gives every player the option of becoming a Resident for that league after a prolonged commitment. We used the language “primarily present” so that a reasonable amount of discretion can be used in allowing for vacations and other such temporary travel when considering eligibility.
b) Certification of Residency. All players shall certify their residency upon participation in the World Championship Event, the NA and EU LCS, and the NA and EU Challenger Series by submitting an eligibility form, and providing proof of residency as defined in Rules 1.2(c) and (d). Each team is responsible for ensuring that its players meet the residency requirements in this Rule 1.2. It shall be a violation of these Rules, by both the team and the player, if a player (or his or her parent or guardian) provides false, misleading or incomplete information resulting in the misclassification of such player’s residency and region. A violation of this Rule 1.2 by a team or a player shall also be deemed a violation of Rule 10.2, and the disciplinary measures in Rules 10.5 and 10.6 shall apply.
c) Proof of Residency. Any player over eighteen years of age may prove residency by the provision of documentary evidence sufficient to demonstrate actual residence in the region in which he or she wishes to play. Such documentary evidence may be in the form of one or more examples of:
- i. Government Issued Documentation. A player may prove residency by providing copies of a driver’s license, voter registration form, vehicle registration, government benefits records, military or draft registration papers or other government-issued records or identification that demonstrate residency.
- ii. Private Documentation. A player may prove residency by providing copies of school records, deeds, leases, homeowners association documents, utility bills (such as gas, water, electricity, cable, or telephone, provided that all show levels of use consistent with actual residency), bank records and statements, tax returns, insurance documents, medical records and employment records.
d) Residency of Minors. Players who are below eighteen years of age may prove residency by either:
- i. School Records. A player may prove residency by providing proof of full-time attendance at school in the region, including by providing copies of report cards, enrollment documentation, or attendance records certified by school officials; or
- ii. Parents’ Records. A player may prove residency by (i) providing documentary evidence of the parent-child relationship, such as a birth certificate that lists the names of parents, and (ii) proof that one parent lives in the region, which may be demonstrated by provision of documentary evidence sufficient to prove residency as specified in Rule 1.2(c), above.
Proving that a player has resided in a region for two out of the last three years can be a somewhat tricky process, so we’ve given categories of documentation that can help establish a player’s Resident status. This is ultimately a process that relies on making good judgment calls, but by permitting numerous categories of proof we can ensure that no player is left without options. We’ll be increasing the timeframe during which a team should submit its paperwork to register a roster change to make sure each change can be assessed within a reasonable period of time, and working with teams to collect paperwork that is acceptable for each circumstance.
e) Starters. For purposes of Rule 1.2, as stated in Rule 3.2, a "Starter" is defined as one of the five players established in the Team's starting lineup for any given game.
This part is fairly straightforward - we don’t want teams undermining the goal of this policy by keeping Residents on the bench while they play majority non-exempt non-Resident starting lineups. This rule ensures that the team actually playing is able to maintain a good balance of local and foreign talent.
f) World Championship Event. The World Championship Event is intended to bring together the best teams from each region to compete, as representatives of their region, in a global competition. In order to foster this diverse global competition, nurture regional teams, excite local and global fans, increase participation from all regions, and ensure a fair and open championship, all teams competing in the World Championship Event must meet local residency requirements. At least 60% (three out of five) Starters on any competing team must be Residents or exempt non-Residents of the region they represent in the World Championship Event. This Rule shall ensure that the goals of the World Championship Event are achieved, without undue burden on players and teams, while promoting fair play and robust competition for all participants in this global competition.
g) NA and EU LCS. The NA and EU LCS, including the NA and EU regular season and all matches leading up to the regional playoffs, are designed to identify the teams that will represent the NA and EU in the World Championship Event. In order to fulfill this mandate, all teams competing in the LCS and LCS-affiliated matches must meet the requirements in Rule 1.2(f) for teams participating in the World Championship Event, including the requirement that at least 60% (three out of five) Starters on each team be Residents of the region covered by the LCS in which they play.
h) NA and EU Challenger Series. The NA and EU Challenger Series, including the NA and EU Challenger Series regular season and all matches leading up to the Promotion Tournament, are designed to identify the teams from the NA and EU that will be promoted to the NA and EU LCS and thereby have an opportunity to represent the NA and EU in the World Championship Event. In order to fulfill this mandate, all teams competing in the Challenger Series and Challenger Series-affiliated matches must meet the requirements in Rule 1.2(f) for teams participating in the World Championship Event, including the requirement that at least 60% (three out of five) Starters on each team be Residents of the region covered by the Challenger Series in which they play.
This is the heart of the rule - having at least 3 players on every team be local to that region in some sense ensures that regional identity is preserved for a league. That principle should be reflected at every level of professional competition, from the Challenger Series all the way to representation at Worlds. Keep in mind that this specific version of the residency requirement is only going into the LCS ruleset, so it will only apply to LCS teams attending Worlds, not all Worlds-participating teams.
i) Implementation of Rule Change; Grandfathering. Any player on the Active Roster of an LCS team or a CS team who participated in the most recent Promotion Tournament at the time of this policy change who would not satisfy the Resident definition in 1.2(a) will be considered an "exempt non-resident", which allows such a player to count towards the three Residents required pursuant to Rules 1.2(f), 1.2(g), and 1.2(h). Once an exempt non-resident has met the Residency requirement, that player will be considered a Resident. A player cannot simultaneously count as a Resident for one region and as an exempt non-Resident for another region. A player can choose to waive his exempt non-Resident status in favor of counting as a Resident for another region before December 31, 11:59 pm PST 2014. In the event that a team has two or more exempt non-Resident players as Starters, they will not be permitted to add any additional non-exempt non-Residents as Starters.
This rule ensures that current LCS teams and CS teams who played in the Promotion Tournament do not have to change their rosters. In enacting the Interregional Movement Policy, it’s important to us that players already committed to playing in the region are not unduly harmed. At the same time, in the long term it’s important that changes to teams gradually move each team to a healthy balance of foreign and local talent, which is why we make the subtle distinction between Resident players and exempt non-Resident players. Allowing players to waive an exemption means that individuals who aren’t sure of the plans don’t get locked out of legitimate options. Players currently in NA can choose to waive their exemption if they would qualify as an EU resident, and vice-versa.
j) Substitutes: All teams will be required to maintain at least one Resident player as a substitute at any given time. At no point in time will teams be permitted to make a substitution which is in violation of any provision of this Rule 1.2.:
If for some reason a Starter is temporarily out of commission, we don’t want teams put in a position where they can’t field a roster in compliance with the Interregional Movement Policy. That’s why we’re requiring teams keep at least one Resident substitute on the roster as a failsafe.
k) Losing Residency: For purposes of this Rule 1.2, a player who is considered a Resident for a region will no longer be deemed to be a "Resident" of that region if such player has been primarily present in another region for 24 out of the last 36 months.
In the event that a player wants to take a break from competitive play, or has a short stint in another league that doesn’t work out, we want to make sure that they reserve the option of playing in the region where they were most recently a Resident. Giving the players the safety net of temporarily exploring options overseas without forfeiting Resident status is a priority for us, and that’s what this portion of the rule is meant to address. So, for example, an EU Resident player can join an NA team for a year, and if circumstances change and they want to go back to EU, they can do so without having lost their EU Resident status.
l) Work Eligibility: Each player must submit proof that, at the time of any LCS-affiliated match the player wishes to participate in, he/she will be (a) a legal resident of a country in their region, and (b) work-eligible in the United States (for NA players) or Germany (for EU players).
This is the same as the old residency rule: because portions of the Challenger Series and all of the LCS occur live and at a physical location, it’s important that players are present and eligible to work in the country where the event is being held.
The Interregional Movement Policy is one that benefits the overall competitive ecosystem, and other regional leagues will be incorporating something similar to the NA and EU version of the Regional Residency Requirement & Work Eligibility and releasing their equivalents at their discretion. China (LPL & LSPL), Korea (OGN The Champions, Masters & NLB), and Southeast Asia/Taiwan (GPL & LNL) handling their regional residency requirements individually. The NA and EU requirement provides a robust framework that will not only preserve regional identity in the future, but permit a healthy amount of movement between regions that is to the benefit of esports as a whole.
GLOBAL PENALTY INDEX