VALORANT teams that earn VCT international league spots via Challengers will be protected from poaching

Hands off.

Beginning in 2023, VALORANT teams that compete in the expanded tier two Challengers ecosystem will have the opportunity to qualify for the top international leagues beginning the following year for a two-year period. These teams will be “safeguarded” from poaching by partnered teams, according to a statement from Whalen Rozelle, head of esports operations at Riot.

In a statement first reported by The Washington Post, Rozelle said that roster protections would be instituted across the international leagues and that these would protect promoted teams from having their talent poached by the partnered teams.

Contracts, roster composition, and player transfer windows will be standardized, Rozelle told The Post. Teams that violate these rules will face a variety of escalating penalties.

Under the recently revamped and expanded Challengers system, the top teams from domestic Challengers leagues will qualify for the new Ascension series, with the winners from Ascension in the Americas, EMEA, and Asia will earn a two-year promotion to their respective international league. Rozelle’s statement implies that in the time between a Challengers team qualifying for the international league and competing in the league the next year, these rosters will be protected from poaching from partnered teams.

The partnered teams themselves will likely adhere to similar roster rules about poaching and tampering with each other, similar to the rules followed by competitive League organizations. In leagues like the LCS or LEC, teams are forbidden from talking to players or recruiting players while they are still under contract with another team unless they have explicit permission from that player’s current team.

As partnered spots are awarded to organizations or not rosters, partnered teams should be able to make roster moves throughout the year provided those moves don’t fall under the poaching or tampering category.

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