This post originally appeared on Kotaku UK, bringing you original reporting, game culture and humour from the British isles.
A South Korean politician has proposed a bill which would exempt esports stars from disrupting their playing careers through military service. The bill, proposed by the country’s Democratic party, would allow notable figures in the fields of pop culture and arts to delay their service until they turn 30.
A report from Naver pointedly name-drops esports superstar Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-hyeok, best known for his three League of Legends world championship wins. The report also mentions K-Pop group BTS, claiming that both parties could be “recommended by the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism as an outstanding person in the field of popular culture and arts.” That recommendation would entitle someone to postpone their military service for up to two years.
Currently, almost all South Korean men between the ages of 19 and 28 are required to perform between 1.5-3 years of military service, based on their branch of the armed forces and occupation in their normal life. Athletes who excel at the Olympics or Asian Games are granted exemptions, as are some musicians and performers, but esports stars have never previously been granted similar opportunities to continue their careers. Many are likely to have aged out of their respective scenes well before their 30th birthdays, but the proposed bill is certainly a big step, even for a country as esports-friendly as South Korea.