A Primer on ‘Sports and Competition Law Interface’ in India
Paper presented at the UGC Sponsored ‘National Conference on Sports Law’ organized by Dr. Ambedkar College, Deekshabhoomi, Nagpur on 15th-16th, February, 2014
17 Pages Posted: 24 May 2017
Date Written: February 2014
Mr. Sachin Tendulkar is awarded with the India’s highest civilian award, the ‘Bharat Ratna’. This sets the tone for this paper; now sports as a ‘profession’ may not be whisked away. Sports as a ‘profession’ in India have moved from amateurism and calls for a serious consideration both in terms of its regulation and legal requirements. The industry associations have demanded to grant it as a status of ‘industry’ as it involves huge amount of investment and flow of money, as has been observed by all of us in relation to IPL matches. This has given birth to a new branch of law, i.e. the ‘sports law’ which is a development from ‘sports and law’ in India. Though this development has long happened in other countries in the world, specifically in European Union, in India the things are slowly holding the ground. There are several legal issues that emerge in the context of sports like match fixing, doping, conflict of sports governing bodies, contract of employment of players etc., however, the focus of the present paper is on the ‘sports and competition law interface’. India now has completely new competition legislation in place in the form of Competition Act, 2002 which prohibits practices having adverse effect on competition in markets in India, and the sports sector has not been spared from its application as a market. This can be seen from the cases brought against BCCI, the regulator of ‘cricket’, before the Competition Commission of India in which CCI had imposed a penalty of Rs. 52 Crores for abuse of dominant position. Two other cases relating to the sports of ‘hockey’ and ‘chess’ have also come up before CCI. These developments bring us to the debate as to what extent competition law can change the sports law landscape and what role it can play in the development of sports in India. The present paper would explore these issues as a primer.
Keywords: Sports law, competition, CCI
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