What are the restrictions on imports in competitive League of Legends?

The Import Rule and Interregional Movement Policy Explained

If you love League of Legends, you’ve probably heard of the “import rule” and the ongoing debate surrounding it. Recently, all 10 organizations in the LCS expressed their support for changes to the Interregional Movement Policy, which governs the global competitive scene of League.

The import restrictions were first implemented in 2014 and revised in 2016 to make it harder for players to gain residency in other regions. These restrictions have remained mostly unchanged since then, except for a minor revision in 2020 after the collapse of the OPL.

What is the Interregional Movement Policy (IMP)?

The IMP is a set of rules that determines where players can compete in League of Legends. The competitive scene is divided into four major regions: Korea (LCK), China (LPL), Europe (LEC), and North America (LCS). The policy allows each team in these regions to have a maximum of two non-resident players on their starting roster at a time.

The IMP was introduced in 2014 after the “Korean exodus,” where many Korean players left the LCK to join Chinese teams. This led to Chinese teams fielding mostly Korean rosters, which threatened the regional identity of the competitive scene. The IMP also aimed to prevent teams like LMQ, an all-Chinese roster that moved from China to compete in the LCS.

What is the difference between a resident and an import?

A resident player is someone who holds citizenship of a particular region, either by birth or by acquiring a resident VISA. The player must choose one region if they have dual citizenship. If a player relinquishes their resident status, they can’t regain residency in that region for the rest of their career.

The “grandfathering policy” applies to players who were already active in North America when the original IMP ruling was implemented in 2014. This policy allowed these players to continue competing without having to wait longer to gain residency.

Which regions are affected by the IMP?

The IMP is a global regulation that affects all four major regions of League of Legends. Any changes made to the import rule would apply to all four regions, not just North America.

The LCS is the only region with an additional source of residency, which was introduced after the dissolution of the OPL in 2020. This change allows Oceanic players to count as residents for North American teams.

Can North America change the import rule?

The LCS cannot change its import restrictions without the agreement of the other major regions. The global regulations apply to everyone, and any changes made by the LCS would affect all regions. It’s worth noting that while North America has historically had more imported players, it is not the only region with imports in its league.

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