Tribunal orders BCCI to pay Rs 120 cr to Zee

Zeenews Sports Bureau

New Delhi: A three-member arbitral tribunal has found The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) guilty of "arbitrarily" terminating in 2007 its five-year contract with Zee Entertainment Enterprise for telecast rights of India`s cricket matches to be played abroad. The tribunal has also asked the cricket body to pay Rs 120 crore as damages for unlawfully terminating the contract.

The three-member tribunal comprising two former Chief Justices of India, A S Anand and Y K Sabharwal, and retired Supreme Court judge B N Srikrishna opined, "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."

Zee signed an agreement with the BCCI on agreement on April 12, 2006 which allowed it exclusive telecast, radio broadcast and internet rights of overseas matches up to March 31, 2011.

Despite the agreement, BCCI wanted to terminate the contract with Zee on May 31, 2007. The board also declared Indian Cricket League (ICL), a T20 tournament run by Zee, to be an ‘unapproved tournament’.

After this development Zee invoked arbitration, saying that "introduction and implementation of ICL became a reason for BCCI proceeding against Zee in a completely arbitrary, discriminatory, unlawful and illegal fashion in relation to the rights of Zee under the global telecast rights for overseas matches to be played by India in terms of the agreement dated April 12, 2006".

Zee had asked for Rs 480 crore as damages.

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