CCI dismisses complaint against Athletics Federation of India

NEW DELHI, July 15: The Competition Commission has dismissed a complaint alleging abuse of dominant position by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) with regard to organisation of athletics activities.
In a 27-page order, the fair-trade regulator said since “no case of contravention of any of the provisions of Section 4 of the (Competition) Act is made out against AFI, the matter is disposed of. Section 4 pertains to abuse of dominant market position.
According to the order, in the minutes of its annual general meeting (AGM) held in April 2015, the AFI had recorded that action would be taken against its state units or officials or athletes and individuals who encouraged unauthorised marathons and became their part, where the permission of the federation was not obtained.
Aggrieved by the AFI’s decision, the sports department under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports had filed a complaint against the federation.
It was asserted that the decision taken by the federation in its AGM was restrictive and not conducive for development of athletics in India at the grass-root level.
For the case, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) considered the ‘market for provision of services for organisation of athletics/ athletic activities in India’ as the relevant one.
Noting that even though the AFI is in a dominant position in the relevant market, the CCI said that its alleged conduct “is not found to be abusive”.
The ruling has come following a detailed probe into the matter by the regulator’s investigation arm — the Director General.
The probe was ordered by the CCI in March 2016.
“The Commission observes that even though the DG has found that the impugned minutes of AGM of April, 2015 of the OP (AFI) is restrictive and therefore abusive, the contention of the OP in this regard that the minutes of 11/04/2015 and 12/04/2015 were only draft minutes which required to be finalised in subsequent AGM and which had not been effected cannot be overlooked,” the CCI said its order dated July 12.
The regulator noted that AFI has modified the minutes of its AGM of April, 2015 in its subsequent AGM in April, 2016.
“… The modified/ amended minutes of AGM of April, 2015 of the OP (opposite party) does not contain anything which can be said to abusive in terms of the provisions of Section 4 of the Act,” the CCI said.
According to the order, AFI recognising only 11 marathons or road races out of more than 300 conducted every year throughout the country, indicates that more than 96 per cent of them held in India during a year are without the recognition of the federation.
“Therefore, these facts negate the findings by the DG that AFI, by putting restriction on the organisers for conducting marathons/ road races, is limiting the market for organisation of athletics/ athletic activities in India and foreclosing the market to the organisers, sponsors and participating athletes,” the CCI said.
The regulator said that “it cannot be held” that AFI through its alleged conduct has limited the provision of services for organising athletics or athletic activities in India and denied market access to the organisers of the athletic events or athletes in contravention of the provisions of Section 4. (PTI)


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