Riot Games have announced that the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) 2020 Summer playoffs will move back to online play as a preventive measure following a second wave of COVID-19 cases in Seoul.
The announcement surfaced Thursday on the LCK Global Twitter page, citing the safety of everyone involved as the main factor that contributed to the shift in format.
“The 2020 Woori Bank LoL Champions Korea (LCK) Summer, which has been held without an audience to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and secure the safety of league members, has decided to switch to online matches starting on Friday, August 21,” read the announcement.
Up to now, LCK fixtures were held at LoL Park, where strict safety guidelines have been in place since February. All gear used by the players was disinfected after each match, while access to the venue was limited to only the players, coaches, referees and broadcasters.
However, the recent resurgence of COVID-19 in Seoul has forced LCK organisers to raise distancing guidelines to level two, meaning live play at the venue is no longer an option.
From this Friday until the LCK 2020 Summer grand finals on Saturday, September 5, all teams will have to play their matches from home or the team’s training bases. In order to help with the transition and keep competitive integrity intact, the league will send referees and operating personnel to “carry out smooth and fair game”.
“Field personnel will be dispatched with a safety checklist, including temperature measurement, usage of masks and regular use of hand sanitizer before entering the team’s accommodation.”
The broadcast team, which will keep working from LoL Park, will be subjected to the same safety checklist, whereas the analyst desk will be suspended until further notice.
The first match of the LCK 2020 Summer regular season that will see the new rules in place will be the clash between two teams that are already out of the race for playoffs in SANDBOX Gaming and Hanwha Life Esports, who will meet on Friday at 17:00 KST.
Seoul has 2,495 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 135 new positives reported on Thursday, while the number of cases in South Korea rose to 16,346 with another 288 appearing nationwide. China, however, reported only seven new cases on the mainland this Wednesday, which is a promising sign for the upcoming League of Legends World Championship in Shanghai.