Finding BCCI guilty of abusing its dominance, Competition Commission today said its probe also found bid rigging attempts by former IPL chief Lalit Modi in award of franchises and the cricket board cannot be absolved of its responsibility in the matter.
The fair trade regulator's investigation arm also found that certain actions of BCCI (Board for Control of Cricket in India) led to failure of a rival 20-20 cricket league ICL (Indian Cricket League).
The observations have been made by the CCI (Competition Commission of India) in its order imposing a Rs 52.24 crore penalty on BCCI for abuse of its dominant position.
The CCI further said changes were made out of turn in award of broadcast rights for the IPL (Indian Premier League) cricket matches, which are held every year in 20-over format between different franchise teams comprising Indian and foreign players.
The DG found BCCI violating competition norms in awarding franchise rights and media rights related to IPL.
In awarding franchise rights, the DG said there were attempts of bid rigging by using arm twisting tactics by former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi. The findings were based on the contents of the show cause notices issued by BCCI to Modi.
Among others, the BCCI asserted that Modi was acting outside the scope of his authority.
However, the DG rejected the submissions of BCCI and concluded that the decisions were not taken in the capacity of IPL Chairman and Commissioner but impliedly with the consent and approval of IPL Committee.
"This was being reported to BCCI on regular basis and ratified by the Governing Council. Therefore, for all acts of commission and omission, BCCI cannot be absolved from its responsibility in the process of tendering," the order said.
Further, the DG found contraventions to the fact that terms of the franchise agreements were loaded in favour of BCCI and "franchises had no say in the terms of contract".
As per the order, while it cannot be conclusively said that ICL's failure was solely attributable to BCCI's dominance, "it can be said that BCCI's dominance was definitely a factor in ICL's failure".
Regarding grant of media rights also, the DG found violation of competition norms.
"The first meeting of tender committee was postponed from 11 am to 1 pm in order to facilitate and allow WSG and Sony to form a consortium.
Though Sony and WSGI had submitted the bids separately, they were facilitated to form a consortium and bid was entertained in the capacity of consortium," it said.