On August 7, 2019, CCI directed the Director General to investigate into the allegations made by Mr. Shravan Yadav, Mr. Amitsinh Tanvar and Mr. Lavmeet Katariya ('Informants') of contravention of provisions of sections 3 and 4 of the Act against Volleyball Federation of India ('VFI') and a consultancy service provider for sports management, Baseline Ventures (India) Private Limited ('Baseline'). 1
The informants are international volleyball players who alleged that the agreement entered between VFI and Baseline granting exclusive rights to Baseline for organizing a volleyball league for Men, Women and beach volleyball in India for a period of 10 years is anticompetitive. The Informants contended that the agreement restricts: (i) volleyball players from participating in any other league of their choice; and (ii) other enterprises from organising any other volleyball leagues. The Informants further alleged that many international players were denied an opportunity to play in the league organized by Baseline due to arbitrary selection of players by VFI and Baseline.
Affirming that VFI falls within the definition of an 'enterprise' under Section 2(h) of the Act, CCI defined the relevant market as the 'market for organization of professional volleyball tournaments/ events in India' and the 'market for services of volleyball players in India'. CCI observed that VFI is the only national level volleyball federation in India, which is the sole governing body of the game of volleyball and of the players of volleyball registered or associated with it and therefore, VFI is in a dominant position in the relevant markets. With respect to VFI's conduct, CCI noted that there is an inherent conflict of interest when an entity is acting as a regulator as well as an organiser. CCI further noted that such restraints imposed by the regulator would be justified if the restraints on competition is a necessary requirement to serve the development of sport or preserve its integrity.
In its analysis of the restrictions, CCI noted that VFI has foreclosed the market for organization of professional volleyball tournaments in India and also restricted volleyball players from participating in other tournaments. Therefore, CCI formed a prima facie view that VFI's agreement with Baseline is anticompetitive in nature and directed the Director General to conduct an investigation against violation of Section 4 of the Act by VFI.
1 Case No. 01 of 2019.
Published Date: September 21, 2019
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