November 29, 2017
Competition Commission of India (CCI) today in the case of Surinder Singh Barmi v. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) issued order against BCCI for abuse of dominant position for imposing restrictions that denied access to the market for organization of Professional Domestic Cricket League/ Events.
CCI in the case has found the alleged activities of BCCI to be in contravention of the provisions of Section 4(1) read with Section 4(2)(c) of the Competition Act, 2002 for its assurance to the broadcasters of Indian Premier League (IPL) that BCCI shall not organize, sanction, recognize, or support another professional domestic Indian T20 competition that is competitive to IPL, for a sustained period of ten years.
On receipt of information by the Informant, CCI ordered investigation by the Director General (DG). Based on DG’s Report, CCI found that BCCI enjoys a dominant position in the market for organisation of professional domestic cricket leagues/ events in India.
Other observations of the CCI:
- That based on the nature of activities performed, BCCI has been held as an enterprise and thus, would come under the purview of the Competition Act, 2002.
- While recognising the role of sports federation i.e. BCCI in taking measures to serve the integrity or development of the sport, CCI held that the impugned restriction had no nexus to the legitimate interest of cricket in the country. Rather, the restriction was pursued to enhance the commercial interest of the bidders of IPL broadcasting rights and the consideration in turn received by BCCI.
In view of the aforesaid, CCI held the impugned restriction to be in contravention of Section 4(1) read with Section 4(2)(c) of the Competition Act, 2002.
Directions issued by CCI:
(a) BCCI shall cease and desist from indulging into the conduct that is found to be in contravention of Section 4 of the Act;
(b) BCCI shall not place blanket restriction on organisation of professional domestic cricket league/ events by non-members.
(c) BCCI shall issue appropriate clarification regarding the rules applicable for organisation of professional domestic cricket leagues/ events in India, either by members of BCCI or by third parties, as well as the parameters based on which applications can be made and would be considered. Besides, BCCI shall take all possible measure(s) to ensure that competition is not impeded while preserving the objective of development of cricket in the country;
(d) BCCI shall file a report to the Commission on the compliance of the aforesaid directions from within a period of 60 days from the receipt of the order.
A penalty of INR 52.24 crore has also been imposed on BCCI for indulging into the anti-competitive conduct.