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Transfer Windows Explained: All the ins and out of the transfer mania

When it ends, what can teams do, and what restrictions are there?

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The August transfer window is now open! Here is exactly what that means.

The dates

The transfer window opened on Monday, Aug. 22, at 9 AM CET and will close on Sunday, Sep. 4, 9 AM CET. This gives 13 days for teams to sign players.

The next two transfer windows will be from Nov. 21 to Dec. 4 and from Feb. 20 to Mar. 5.

As the window always opens the day after the Major grand-final, we can infer the dates of the November Major to be Nov. 14 to 20 and the Six Invitational 2023 to be Feb. 7 to 19.

What can be done?

During this August window, teams can buy, trade, and sell players or pick up free agents. Teams can discuss and negotiate changes outside of windows, but they can only be executed once the window opens.

While any number of players can be dropped, only two new players can be added to the team. This means, for example, Virtus.pro cannot replace their whole team with ex-Empire, as that would require five new players.

February transfer window

The exception to this is in February, as the post-SI window allows as many changes as you wish. This is how G2 Esports picked up three new members or how Soniqs replaced four players last year.

Considering this window also takes place four months after the end of Stage 3, this is also the only time cross-regional transfers can be realistically done, as it’ll take multiple months to get visas sorted.

Poaching rules

Put simply, team representatives must talk to each other to ensure both teams are negotiating a change together, rather than one team talking to an individual player behind their team’s back.

A violation of poaching rules can lead to a fine of between $10,000 to $20,000 and up to a 12-month competitive ban.

SiegeGG previously reported that a Ubisoft investigation had been run after Mirage alleged that both Nuers and Dream had been poached by Oxygen Esports. It closed due to a lack of evidence.

Multiple high-profile Mexican players have also been banned due to poaching during 2021.

Global Contract Database

Before every stage starts, teams must submit their full rosters to Ubisoft to officially register the players. As well as personal information, this also includes each player’s contract end date.

The contact information is then put into a database that all other teams can access. This is designed to make it more transparent as every team should know which players will be available ahead of time.

Academy teams

Academy rosters can be signed whenever including outside of transfer windows.

During transfer windows, teams can transfer two players from their academy team to their primary team. This does not count towards their two-player pickup maximum. This means a team can theoretically change four players in a single window, but this is more of a technicality than by design.

You can read more about the “academy roster loophole” here.

Elevate, MNM Gaming, Black Dragons, Parabellum, w7m esports, Fenix Esports, INTZ, Team oNe, and ALPHA Team all currently have two teams.

Meanwhile, FURIA, Gaimin Gladiators, Nora Rengo, and Giants Gaming have also had secondary teams in the past.

Coaches

Teams can have up to seven players -- five starting and two substitutes -- as well as a single “coach” and as many support staff as they wish.

While the rulebook limits teams to one coach change per window, this does not limit “support staff” changes. This limit is effectively meaningless, since you’re only allowed one official coach anyway.

Listing someone as a coach rather than just the support staff gives them extra benefits such as the ability to talk to players during timeouts and travel coverage to events. It also means they are listed in the global contract database.

Drafts

Previously announced in Brazil ahead of the 2020 season was a draft system “modelled after the National Basketball Association”. This was dropped before the season began and never got off the ground.

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