Discrimination of foreign skiers in France

We in IAWLS have for some time worked on a case with Transjurassienne and French skifederation. It’s regarding an extra charge for race-participation. In extra cost that should not be there.

Case in short: If a foreign skier has a ski-license, including accident insurance, from his home nation he should NOT pay for extra insurance in Transjurassienne or other french skiraces. Today the skier has to! And it’s wrong! FIS rules say you must have a license with insurance from home nation before skiing foreign races. A solution is possible. Words are that french ski-federation (FFS) accepts licenses only from Switzerland and Italy. All FIS nations licenses should be accepted.

Now, an IAWLS member and many times WL master Maniora Yonel, has taken the case to the European Commission. With a uplifting status so far. You can contact Maniora Yonel at ymaniora@pt.lu.

The letter to the European Commission and their reply is shown here in english. For french version download it at this link 2015-10-06-QuestionAndReponse

Letter from Yonel Maniora:

Discrimination by distortion of cost for a foreign European if participation in a sports event of ski in France.

If a ski racer licensed in a foreign ski federation — example: Luxembourg Ski Federation  — which is a recognised Member of the International Ski Federation, participates in a ski racing in France, he has to pay automatically an additional cost of the order of 8-15 € depending on the race. The racers of the French Federation don’t pay the extra cost.

Example: To participate in the Transjurassienne in Feb. 2016 means an extra cost of 15 – €.

See the link: http://www.transjurassienne.com/les-courses/tarifs-d-inscription-1-466.htm

 The French Ski Federation responded that it was to cover the insurance for the day, or the foreign racer, licensed in a Federation is already ensured by its own Federation!

Furthermore, this extra cost is not merely for the French insurance but to pay other costs arising from the event.

You have undertaken an investigation on “Disneyland Paris, more expensive for foreign tourists” on the basis of accusations of Member of the European  Parliament ,Sir Marc Tarabella. This request shall be in the same outrage…

The French Federation of Ski was contacted several times but without success; they confirm the problem of insurance. Idem for the organisers of the races under the cover of the FFS but they recognise that this is a mistake but they cannot go against it. I’m not the only one who encounters this problem. I find that there is discrimination because it is impossible to enrol in a competition without paying extra costs compared to others!

Thank you for taking the time to read my application and thanks for your reply.

Reply from the European Commission.

Thank you for your question.

Sport activity is subject to EU law. In particular, competition law and internal market provisions apply to sport in so far as it constitutes an economic activity. Sport is also subject to other important aspects of EU law, such as the prohibition of discrimination based on nationality between citizens of the EU — what you are claiming.

This last principle is indeed relevant as regards access to sports competitions, even in amateur sport.

At the same time the European Commission and the case law of the European Court of Justice acknowledged that sport has certain specific characteristics; without justifying a general exemption from the application of EU law.

Discrimination on grounds of nationality is prohibited in the Treaties, which establish the right for any citizen of the Union to move and reside freely in the territory of the Member States. However, the situation is different depending on whether you are a Luxembourger residing in France — in this case you can in principle be considered an additional registration cost as discrimination on the basis of nationality, or if you are a resident in Luxembourg and simply wanted to compete in another country (France). In the latter case, the recognition of the specific nature of sport (by comparison with access to an amusement park, for example) is of great relevance.

A difference in treatment between licensees from other EU Member States is justified for the access to competitions in France, particularly with regard to the legitimacy of the objectives intended to justify the difference of treatment and proportionality of the means used to achieve these objectives.

Reference document European Commission White Paper on Sport :

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/FR/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52007DC0391

Only on a case by case basis determine whether a difference in treatment is contrary to EU law, and it is up to the Court to give a ruling, if necessary by requesting an official interpretation of the European Court by way of ‘question’.

As regards the specific situation that you describe, the argument based on insurance included in the French sport licence seems appropriate, provided it is true. However you contest that this argument corresponds to the reality, at least in its entirety. If I have understood correctly, you say you have proof that part of the overcharge you might have to pay is intended to cover other costs. Costs inherent in the sport event, you say. Are these costs inherent to the fact that you are not licenced in France? In this case, the same can be said for the insurance; if these are costs which have nothing to do with this and that organisers find it appropriate that competitors who are not insured in France should bear them, and then it seems to me that you have good reason to complain.

To exercise your rights, we would suggest that you consult the following page: http://ec.europa.eu/atwork/applying-eu-law/complaints_fr.htm

See in particular the sections “remedies available at national level” and “possible actions at EU level”.

We hope to have responded to your queries.

PS: Please note that the advice given by Your Europe Advice is independent advice and cannot be considered as reflecting the views of the Commission or any other institution or EU staff members. This advice is not binding upon the European Commission, any other EU or national institution.

Our response is not an official answer from the European Commission.

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