Competition Commission finds BCCI guilty of market abuse, slaps penalty

BCCI guilty

Fair trade regulator Competition Commission today said held that the Indian cricket board indulged in anti-competitive practices and slapped a penalty of Rs 52.24 crore on it.

Observing that BCCI abused its dominant position, the Competition Commission of India directed it to "cease and desist" from any practice in future 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," CCI said in an order today.

The fair trade regulator has imposed a penalty of Rs 52.24 crore on BCCI.

The complaint was filed by a city-based individual, Surinder Singh Barmi against BCCI in November 2010. His allegations were based on issues related to IPL and a professional cricket league tournament conducted by BCCI.

Among others, the complainant had alleged irregularities in the grant of franchise rights for team ownership, media rights for coverage of the league and award of sponsorship rights.

Noting that BCCI's economic power is enormous "as a regulator that enables it to pick winners", the regulator said the cricket board has gained tremendously in financial terms from the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket format.

"Virtually, there is no other competitor in the market nor was anyone allowed to emerge due to BCCI's strategy of monopolising the entire market," the order said.

The policy of BCCI to keep out other competitors and to use their position as a defacto regulatory body has prevented many players who could have opted for the competitive league, it added.

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