Zee wins damages claim over BCCI deal

An Indian tribunal has ruled that the Board of Control for Cricket in India must pay over Rs1.2 billion (€17.2 million/$21.8 million) in damages to Asian broadcast group Zee Entertainment for “arbitrarily” terminating its five-year rights deal to India national team cricket matches played overseas.

The ruling was made by a three-member arbitral tribunal comprising two former Chief Justices of India, A S Anand and Y K Sabharwal, and retired Supreme Court judge B N Srikrishna. The Times of India newspaper reports that the ruling said: “In our view, the claimant (Zee) is entitled to be awarded damages in view of illegal and unlawful termination of agreement by the respondent (BCCI) and also on account of illegal blacklisting.”

The BCCI agreed the deal with Zee in April 2006, covering exclusive television, radio and internet rights for overseas matches through to March 31, 2011.

The BCCI-Zee relationship later soured when Zee established a Twenty20 cricket competition, the Indian Cricket League, which was a competitor to the BCCI’s Twenty20 competition the Indian Premier League. The BCCI wrote to its affiliates declaring the ICL to be an ‘unapproved tournament’. The BCCI terminated the contract with Zee on May 31, 2007.

The tribunal ruled the BCCI will be required to return a Rs300 million security deposit paid in May 31, 2007, with interest. The tribunal also asked the BCCI to pay Zee Rs813.6 million.