BCCI fined over non-compete clause in IPL rights tender
The Board of Control for Cricket in India was today fined Rs522.4 million ($8.1 million) for anti-competitive conduct in the sale of media rights to the money-spinning Indian Premier League from 2018 onwards.
In a statement, the Competition Commission of India said that the penalty had been imposed for “abuse of dominant position” for allowing a restriction preventing the organisation of rival Twenty20 leagues.
The fine is payable within 60 days.
The BCCI claimed that the television companies bidding in a tender for the rights, which ultimately went to domestic television giant Star India, had asked for a non-compete clause.
However, the commission ruled against it, saying: “BCCI has not provided any justification as to how this self-imposed restriction of not organising, sanctioning, approving or supporting another T20 cricket event that will be competing with IPL, is connected to the interest of cricket.”
It added that the policy had served only to “enhance the commercial interest of the bidders of broadcasting rights.”
In addition to the fine, the commission said the BCCI must not place any "blanket restriction" on the organisation of professional leagues set up to compete with the IPL.
Responding to the ruling, Rajeev Shukla, the chairman of the IPL, was quoted saying: “We will read it and legally understand it, if need be will approach court.”
Star landed the global rights to the IPL for the next five years in September with a knockout bid of Rs163.5 billion.
The competition commission previously ruled against the BCCI in 2013, when it said the rights deal then in place with Indian broadcaster Sony Pictures Networks was illegal because of the non-compete clause.
The ruling had to be reviewed following a successful court appeal by the BCCI, but has now been enforced again.