CCI orders probe against BCCI following a complaint by Essel Group company

NEW DELHI: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered a detailed investigation against the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for alleged abuse of dominant position with regard to running professional domestic cricket leagues in the country.

The competition watchdog noted that there is “prima-facie” a case of abuse of dominant position by the BCCI which is in violation of competition norms. The investigation was ordered following a complaint filed by Pan India Infraprojects (formerly known as Essel Sports).

The CCI has considered ‘organisation of professional domestic cricket leagues/events in India’ as the relevant market. The CCI’s investigation arm Director General (DG) would probe the case.

“Thus, it appears that BCCI has abused its dominant position in the market of organisation of professional domestic cricket leagues in India by excluding the informant (Pan India Infraprojects) or any of its group companies from participating in tenders for media rights for IPL,” the order said.

The regulator noted that apart from restraining the organisation of a competitive league (Indian Cricket League) by Pan India Infraprojects, the BCCI appears to have excluded it from the downstream market by disallowing it to bid for the Indian Premier League (IPL) media rights.

“The sports federations engaged in organisation of tournaments/ leagues are put to advantage if they also possess the authority to grant approval for organisation of similar events by others and set conditions for such organisation. BCCI seems to have taken advantage of such a situation,” the Competition Commission of India (CCI) said in the order dated June 1.

In the preliminary hearing, Pan India Infraprojects had highlighted that the BCCI had inserted a clause in the recent Indian Premier League (IPL) media rights tender whereby the informant and its group companies have been foreclosed from participating in any media rights tenders issued by the BCCI.

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