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Ski coach charged for illegal work

French embassy steps in after British instructor charged with teaching Megève skiers while unqualified

A BRITISH ski instructor faces a year’s jail and €15,000 fine after being arrested for the fourth time at exclusive ski resort Megève for illegally teaching skiers while unqualified.

Although Simon Butler has run his ski instructor business for more than 30 years in Megève, teaching around 2,000 people a year, his British qualifications are not recognised in France.

He has been accused of employing people not qualified to teach skiing and failing to declare several non-French employees. He was first arrested and charged in 2004 and was fined €10,000 by the court in Bonneville.

Mr Butler says that he and his teaching staff have legal qualifications under EU law and he holds the International Ski Teacher Diploma, one of the industry’s highest qualifications. France views the British Association of Snowsport Instructors Level 4 qualification as equivalent to its qualification.

The French embassy in London has taken an unprecedented step in putting a statement on its website criticising news reports of Mr Butler’s arrest which had said that “France was flouting European law and being protectionist”.

It says: “Under EU law, as has been recognized by the European Commission, it is the duty of individual states to establish professional standards. Austria and Italy, two other European states with important ski industries, operate similar rules.

The embassy said the British Association of Snowsport Instructors had acknowledged he did not have the proper qualifications and he had been “unwilling or unable” to take the required Eurotest examination.

It said that the UK, France and nine other EU states have agreed to create a professional card for European ski instructors, with the first cards expected to be issued in the next 12 months.

Read the French embassy statement here
Photo: dell - Fotolia.com

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