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For abusing its dominant position a penalty of Rs 52.24 crore has been levied on Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) by the Competition Commission of India.
BCCI by assuring the Indian Premier League (IPL) broadcasters that it will not organize, sanction, support or recognize any other professional Indian T20 domestic competition for a period of ten years which is competitive to the format of IPL. The CCI noted that such assurance given by BCCI is in violation of section 4(1) read with section 4(2)(c) of the Competition Act, 2002 and thus amounts to abuse of the dominant position by BCCI.
It has been contended by the BCCI that it is not an enterprise as per the provisions of section 2(h) of the Act, the contention was however rejected by the CCI. The CCI stated that the for the purpose of organizing professional cricket leagues or events BCCI is having a dominant position in the Indian market and BCCI has a monopoly in organizing cricket events or leagues in India.
The CCI observed that the BCCI is not able to explain as to why the stated clause has a connection with the interest of cricket. The CCI noted that the BCCI has failed to prove that the how the restriction imposed by them is in the reasonable interest of cricket and the consumers in the market. The explanation so put forth by the BCCI is not acceptable as it clearly shows that that the intent of BCCI behind such restriction is to foreclose competition. The reason that the the clause was inserted at the behest of the bidders has also been rejected by the CCI.
The CCI stated that the responsibility given under section 4(1) of the act cannot be said to be reduced by saying that the abuse is being pursued by the consumers or other stakeholders.
The CCI has given following directions to BCCI -
(i) BCCI shall not conduct itself in any manner which is in contravention with the section 4(1) and section 4(2)(c) of the competition act
(ii) BCCI shall not put blanket restrictions on cricket events by non-members and shall apply the principles of fairness, transparency and equality in applying or modifying the changes.
(iii) Having done the above, BCCI to issue clarification for the rules applicable for organization of professional domestic cricket leagues/ events in India, either by members or by third parties, as well as the parameters considered for such application. Besides, BCCI shall take all possible measures) to ensure that competition is not impeded while preserving the objective of development of cricket in the country ; and…
(iv) A report to be filed by the BCCI within 60 days.