- South Korea has compulsory military service that also applies to esports professionals
- League of Legends pro Deft is at just the right age to go serve
- He hinted that he might have found a way to be able to play next season
In a recent short video posted on Twitter, Deft explained that he might not need to pause his esports career due to his compulsory military service yet.
Deft Hints He Found a Solution
Most democratic countries have long abandoned compulsory military service in times of piece. However, South Korea, due to it being situated next to less than friendly neighbors to the north, is an exception to this. The country requires all able-bodied men aged 18 to 35 to serve in the military for a period of up to 21 months.
Of course, this rule also applies to esports players, with many young Koreans having to spend time off their esports careers to do their military service. One such man is DRX AD carry Deft, around whom circulated rumors that he will be joining the army, putting his esports career on hold.
In DRX’s self-published documentary series, “DRX Adventures”, the player talked about his impending mandatory military service. According to a translation by Kevin Kim of KORIZON Esports, Deft explained that he might have resolved the issues around his service, and might be able to play professionally next year.
What Could This Solution Be?
Taking into account the fact that Korean men must enlist in the military by the time they are age 28, and that Deft is currently 25, it’s easy to see with what urgency he must figure out his situation. Deft is currently 25 years old and is the second-oldest player in the LCK behind T1 mid laner Faker, who was born five months before Deft.
The Korean player might have postponed his service, however, due to a relatively new law passed n 2020. According to it, notable pop culture figures can postpone their conscription until age 30. The law was originally written with notable world-famous K-pop figures in mind, like BTS, but it could also apply to esports stars like Deft.
Considering Deft is a League of Legends veteran of over 10 years and has played three of the last four seasons with the DRX organization, one could easily see his status as a notable esports athlete representing Korea on the global scene. However, according to League global contract database, his contract, along with the contracts of DRX’s entire starting lineup, is set to expire in November of this year. This fact fueled rumors that Deft might not be able to compete next year, as, without a contract, he would be expected to go serve in the military.
However, it seems that the player has figured out a way to at least postpone his service for some more time. His next match with DRX will be against KT Rolster on Friday, September 2, during the LCK Regional Qualifier.