CCI slaps INR 52 crore penalty on BCCI for abuse of dominant position
CCI slaps INR 52 crore penalty on BCCI for abuse of dominant position

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed a fine of INR 52.24 crore on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for anti-competitive practices with respect to IPL media rights. Earlier in 2013 also, the watchdog had penalized the cricket board to the tune of INR 52.24 crore but erstwhile Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) had set aside the CCI's order in February 2015 and asked the CCI to look into the matter afresh.

Subsequently, the CCI had directed the Director General (DG) to conduct the further probe. The DG had filed its supplementary investigation report in March 2016. After taking into consideration the supplementary report and submissions by the cricket body and DG, the CCI has passed the latest order.

For the case, the CCI considered 'organization of professional domestic cricket leagues/ events in India' as the relevant market. "The assessment of the Commission clearly brings out that the impugned clause in the Indian Premier League (IPL)  Media Rights Agreement has been pursued by BCCI consciously to protect the commercial interest of the bidders of broadcasting rights as well as the economic interest of BCCI," the order noted.

The regulator noted that denial of market access is one of the severe forms of abuse of dominant position. "After assuming a monopoly of IPL for a sustained period of ten years by excluding all potential competition, there is no reason for BCCI or anyone to expect a proposal for the organization of a similar league," the order said.

The penalty of INR 52.24 crore comes to nearly 4.48% of the average of the BCCI's relevant turnover during the last three financial years. The average turnover of Rs 1,164.7 crore is for three financial years -- 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16. Although at present, the average of the relevant turnover is slightly higher than the one which was considered by the CCI while passing the order in February 2013, the regulator said it prefers to maintain the penalty amount.