MUMBAI (Reuters) - India’s cricket board was fined 522.4 million rupees (£6.05 million) by the country’s antitrust watchdog on Wednesday for misusing its dominant position and anti-competitive practices in awarding broadcast rights for the Indian Premier League.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) accused the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)in its order of anti-competitive conduct in assuring broadcasters that it would not sanction any other domestic T20 league.
“We will legally understand it (the CCI order), examine it and if need be, we will appeal against it in the court,” IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla told television news agency ANI.
The BCCI’s guarantee to not “organise, sanction, recognise, or support another professional domestic Indian T20 competition that is competitive to IPL, for a sustained period of 10 years” was against competition guidelines, the regulator said.
“CCI held that the impugned restriction had no nexus to the legitimate interest of cricket in the country,” it said in a statement.
“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.”
The CCI directed the board not to place blanket restrictions on and clarify the rules applicable for the organisation of the professional domestic cricket league or events by both BCCI members and non-members.
The regulator called on the BCCI to file a report to the Commission on their compliance within 60 days of their receipt of the CCI order, the statement said.
In 2013, the CCI passed an order imposing the same financial penalty on the BCCI, but it was set aside after the cricket board appealed against the sanctions at the Competition Appellate Tribunal.
The CCI then conducted a detailed investigation by its director general and concluded that the BCCI’s actions were anti-competitive.
The franchise-based IPL competition began in 2008 with eight teams and owners including India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani and Bollywood actors.
In September Star India, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, bid 163.48 billion rupees ($2.54 billion) for the television and digital rights of the IPL for a five-year period from 2018 to 2022.
Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Toby Davis