In a landmark judgment, an Arbitral Tribunal has asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India ( BCCI) to pay Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (Zee) Rs140 crore as damages for breach of a telecast agreement entered back in 2006. The amount, said the tribunal, will have to be paid by December 1, 2012, failing which it would attract 11% per annum interest till payment.
The tribunal consisted eminent jurists, Justice AS Anand (retired), former Chief Justice of India; Justice YK Sabharwal (retired), former Chief Justice of India and Justice BN Srikrishna (retired), former judge, Supreme Court of India.
Punit Goenka, managing director & CEO, Zee, said, “The award is towards recovery of the losses that we have incurred in the sports business in the past.’’ He added that the company will continue to remain committed to its sports business in the long term.
The tribunal found BCCI guilty of unfair treatment and illegally blacklisting ZEE in its commercial contracts due to the launch of the Indian Cricket League (ICL).
It held that BCCI was guilty of exploiting its dominant position in respect of the game of cricket in India as well as guilty of unfair conduct against the broadcaster.
The award amount of `140 crore payable by BCCI included the security deposit of `30 crore with interest charged at 11% p.a. from May 31, 2007, loss of profit, loss of goodwill, etc.
The tribunal also observed that BCCI’s blacklisting of Zee (and its group / affiliate companies) from participating in any of its bidding process was ‘clearly illegal’.
Disclosure: Zee is the owner of Diligent Media Corporation, which publishes the DNA