League of Legends Pro League set to return on March 9
League of Legends Pro League (LPL) will be returning to our screens on Monday, March 9, as revealed by the Chinese league organisers earlier this Friday.
China's League of Legends Pro League was on a temporary hiatus for over a month due to the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus and was initially planned to return only at the end of April, as revealed by the Chinese national general administration of sports department earlier this month.
So far the LPL teams have only competed in the first week of the Spring Split, which began on January 13 and concluded on January 19. Since then, however, the league was put to a halt until further notice, leaving the players unable to partake in the competition. The coronavirus, which already had severe effects on the global population and the esports scene as a whole, also put the LPL in a huge disadvantage compared to other regions, given that most other leagues have already reached the halfway mark of their splits, while LPL still has nine more competitive weeks to go.
Due to the delays in the LPL, the League also put 2020 Mid-Season-Invitational on hold, as announced by Riot Games global head of esports John Needham.
"I know many of you are waiting for the details of the 2020 Mid-Season Invitational — and we are eager to share them," read the statement from Mr Needham.
"However, as countries around the world respond to COVID-9, aka the Corona-virus, we’ve had to adjust our plans and delay announcing the timing and location of MSI 2020. While we remain committed to making the event happen, the health and safety of player and fans comes first and foremost, with the integrity of the competition a close second."
The LPL has now been announced to resume on March 9, with the official English broadcast returning next week, on March 15.
The needed precautions will also be in place, as everyone who will participate in the league will be needed to complete a 14-day monitored quarantine period, as well as meet the predetermined health requirements before they will be allowed to enter and compete in the LPL.
“Except for those who have failed to return to their base of operations due to local regulations, other contestants and relevant staff will undergo quarantine in accordance with local regulations at the location of the club,” the LPL announced.
Starting on March 9, the LPL will switch to an online format, meaning all fixtures will be played online until the league can safely resume using its venues. The players will attend the matches from their organisation's headquarters, with the exception of those players, who are already in quarantined provinces such as Hubei (the epicentre of the outbreak).
LPL will also provide referees at the team's headquarters to provide competitive integrity and provide everyone with a level playing field.
The new online format for LPL will mark the first time in the history of professional League of Legends that a league will be hosted online, which could bring some unforeseen technical difficulties as its the case with most online tournaments, however, given the importance the online part of LPL will play, it's safe to expect the league will run smoothly on the whole.