Image of Simon Butler from Simon Butler Skiing
A landmark case against a British ski instructor working in France is now underway. On February 18, in the resort town of Megeve near Mont Blanc, 51-year-old Simon Butler was arrested, accused of breaching French law by teaching without proper qualifications.
Despite having the highest-rated British ski instructor’s licence, British Association of Snowsport Instructors (BASI), Butler has not attained the French equivalent-Ecole du Ski Francaise (ESF).
“He is in total rebellion against French law,” says Pierre-Yves Michau, the prosecutor in the nearby town of Bonneville.
Butler, who has been a ski instructor in France for over three decades, on the other hand accuses France of breaching a cornerstone of the European Union: the free movement of workers.
“They don’t want us here. They want to have us run out of town,” says Butler.
Butler’s latest arrest sparked outrage among some in Britain.
London Mayor Boris Johnson called the dispute “a complete, naked, shameless and unrepentant breach – by the French – of the principles of the European Single Market”.
“It is a simple case of French protectionism and racism rolled into one,” said the deputy leader of the eurosceptic UK Independence Party, Paul Nuttall.
Butler could face three months in prison if convicted.