Prima facie case of abuse of dominant position established

Hockey India, the apex body for promotion of the sport in India, is under the scrutiny of the Competition Commission of India.

The investigating arm of the Commission, headed by the Director-General, has found the body guilty of abusing its dominant position.

Following this, a panel of CCI has heard arguments and reserved its orders.

“It is a ticklish issue and a final order, which will be served by a full member Bench of the CCI, is awaited,” an official of the body said.

It is likely that Hockey India is served with a financial penalty on the lines of what was done in the case relating to the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

Anti-competitive

In February, the CCI had penalised the BCCI for Rs 52.24 crore for indulging in anti-competitive practices after being found guilty of shutting out competitors in a case relating to the conduct of Indian Premier League (IPL) tournaments.

Hockey India — India’s officially sanctioned hockey body by virtue of an interim order of the Supreme Court — was allegedly discriminating against a few former players who had wanted to participate in the World Series Hockey (WSH) tournament, run on the lines of the now disbanded Indian Cricket League.

The players, including former hockey captain Dhanraj Pillay, had approached the CCI alleging abuse of dominance by Hockey India, which had warned players against participating in the WSH, terming it an “unsanctioned” event.

Allegedly, players who had signed up to play in various franchisees of the WSH — which is organised by the rival Indian Hockey Federation — were deliberately not selected to the Indian national hockey team.

De-recognition

The IHF was derecognised by the Indian Olympic Association over governance issues. The WSH series concluded in February this year.

Dhanraj Pillay, when contacted, said a few players had approached the Commission as they felt that they should be given a fair chance to play in any league.

Meanwhile, the All-India Chess Federation is also under CCI scrutiny with the Delhi High Court directing players to approach the Commission for alleged anti-competitive practices.

Some chess players had approached the court alleging that the Federation was behaving in a monopolistic manner.

bindu.menon@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on April 5, 2013)
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