31 Chinese players have been kicked from their League of Legends academy teams as a direct result of the new ruling by the Chinese government that prevents people under the age of 18 from spending more than three hours gaming per week. The move, which is aimed at tackling gaming addiction and associated issues, means minors cannot game online at all between Monday and Thursday, and face strict restrictions on their weekend gaming habits.
At present, the ruling has only hurt the League of Legends Development League (LDL), China’s second tier of competition aimed at grooming young stars for the future, but it directly hurts the LPL teams' recruitment options, putting China at disadvantage compared to other regions without such limitations. It is also easy to see how harsh limitations on the practice time further stars have will negatively impact on Chinese League in the future, and potentially drive players abroad should they have the option to play in different leagues.
The decision has already seen young talents leave teams like Top Esports Challenger, FPX Blaze, Royal Club, Suning S, EDG Young, and more. With LDL playoffs in semifinals, TES Challenger will have to play without mid laner Xu "Wangxiao" Hao-Yang. And on the other end of the bracket, Joy Dream will compete without AD Carry Li "1xn" Xiu-Nan
It remains to be seen if the government will provide special dispensation for aspiring professional players, but to this point there has been no indication they intend to do so despite China’s history of success in League of Legends esports. The LDL itself was suspended earlier this year as a result of match fixing allegations, making 2021 something of an annus horribilis for the division.