The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Friday slapped a Rs. 52.24 crore penalty on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for indulging in anti-competitive practices.
Stating that the BCCI had abused its dominant position, the CCI directed it to desist from any practice denying market access to potential competitors, including inclusion of similar clauses in any future agreement.
“The abuse by BCCI was of a grave nature and the quantum of penalty that needs to be levied should be commensurate with the gravity of the violation,’’ the regulator said in its order.
The penalty amount needs to be deposited within 90 days of receipt of the order.
The city-based Surinder Singh Barmi filed a complaint against the BCCI in November 2010. His allegations were based on issues related to the Indian Premier League (IPL) and a professional league tournament conducted by the BCCI.
Among others, the complainant alleged irregularities in grant of franchise rights for team ownership, media rights of the league and award of sponsorship rights.
The CCI noted that the BCCI’s economic power was enormous as a regulator, enabling it to pick winners. The board gained tremendously financially from the IPL format. “Virtually, there is no other competitor nor was anyone allowed to emerge due to the BCCI’s strategy of monopolising the entire market,” the order stated.
The policy of the BCCI to keep out other competitors and use its position as a de facto regulatory body has prevented many players who could have opted for the competitive league, it added.
“The dependence of competitors on the BCCI for sanctioning of events and dependence of players and consumers for the same reason has been total. Knowing this, the BCCI had foreclosed the competition by openly declaring that it was not going to sanction any other event,’’ the CCI said.
The complaint against the BCCI was referred to the Commission’s Director General (DG) in December 2010.
The DG concluded that though the BCCI was a society and supposed to be a non-profit organisation, its IPL activities such as grant of franchise rights, media rights and other sponsorship rights, in which huge revenue was involved, were different from the so-called non-profit activities.