Millennium Post

Compat scraps CCI fine on BCCI for ‘market dominance misuse’

Competition Appellate Tribunal has set aside a CCI order against cricket governing body BCCI for alleged abuse of dominance, saying the regulator relied on "legally unsustainable" information downloaded from internet for nailing the Board.

In its order passed in February last year, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) had imposed a penalty of Rs 52.24 crore on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after finding it guilty of indulging in anti-competitive practices in organisation of Indian Premier League (IPL).

Stating that BCCI had abused its dominant position, the CCI had also directed it to "cease and desist" from any practice in future that denies market access to potential competitors. The order had followed a complaint filed by an individual against BCCI way back in November 2010.

BCCI later challenged the CCI's directive before Compat, which has now set aside this order and
remitted the case to the Commission "for fresh disposal".

"The finding recorded by the Commission on the issue of abuse of dominance is legally unsustainable and is liable to be set-aside because the information downloaded from the net and similar other material do not have any evidentiary value and, in any case, the same could not have been relied upon by the Commission without giving an effective opportunity to the appellant (BCCI) to controvert the same," Compat said.

Earlier in its order, CCI had said that "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."

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

The complaint against BCCI was referred in December 2010 to the CCI's Director General, the investigating arm of the fair trade regulator.

During probe, BCCI had contended that it was a ‘not-for profit’ society for the promotion of sport of cricket and its activities is outside the purview of the Competition Act.
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