On Wednesday, the Competition Commission announced that the BCCI were fined Rs 52.24 crore for anti-competitive practices regarding the IPL media rights. The Commission penalised the cricket body in February 2013 as well. The appellate tribunal set that penalty aside following a BCCI appeal. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) said the penalty of Rs 52.24 crore covers nearly 4.48 per cent of the average of the BCCI’s 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.

IPL Media Rights
Picture source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

“The assessment of the Commission clearly brings out that the impugned clause in the  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,” it said.

In February 2013, the watchdog handed the BCCI a fine of Rs 52.24 crore. Although the average of the turnover is higher than the one the CCI considered in February 2013, they preferred to maintain the penalty amount. The CCI considered ‘organisation of professional domestic cricket leagues/ events in India’ as the relevant market.

The order regards the BCCI as a non-profit organisation. It’s revenue being ploughed back into cricket are general features of any sports federation. The same cannot be taken as mitigating factors as proposed by the cricket body. “Similarly, the Commission does not find merit in the argument that there is no actual instance of refusal to any proposal for organisation of domestic leagues similar to IPL. After assuming 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 organisation of a similar league,” the regulator said. They noted that denial of market access is one of the severe forms of abuse of dominant position.


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