BCCI fined for unfair practices
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Pulling up the BCCI for its anti-competitive behaviour, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Friday slapped a penalty of Rs 52.24 crore on the Indian board and asked it to "cease and desist" from denying market access to potential competitors in future. Further, the competition watchdog also ordered the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to cease using its regulatory powers for deciding on any matter relating to its commercial activities. The CCI has found the BCCI guilty of contravention of section 4(2)(c) of the Competition Act, 2002 and has imposed the penalty of 6 per cent of the average annual revenue of the BCCI for past three years, according to the order.
"The commission considers 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," the order, which has to be complied to within 90 days, said. The Commission observed that the BCCI has undermined the moral responsibility of a custodian and defacto regulator.
Earlier, in November, 2010, Surinder Singh Barmi, a Delhi-based cricket fan, had filed a complaint against BCCI alleging that there were irregularities in the grant of franchise rights for team ownership in the organisation of Indian Premier League (IPL). The case was referred to the director general CCI for investigation which found the board guilty of abusing its dominant position.
While the BCCI contended that it is a 'not-for profit' society for the promotion of sport of cricket and its activities is outside the purview of the Competition Act, the DG concluded that though BCCI is a society and supposed to be a non-profit organisation, "its activities related to IPL such as grant of franchise rights, media rights and other sponsorship rights, where huge revenue is involved, are different from so called non-profit activities. These activities fall in the commercial sphere and the whole tendering process for such rights is motivated by profit".
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