sport

Authorities: No criminal charges

French authorities have said that they will not pursue charges in the wake of Michael Schumacher's skiing accident late last year.

In a statement released on Monday, Albertville Prosecutor Patrick Quincy said "no infraction by anyone has been turned up" and added that the investigation has been closed.

The announcement therefore ends the threat of criminal action against both the ski resort of Meribel, where the seven-time World Champion crashed on December 29, and manufacturers of ski equipment he was wearing at the time.

Schumacher had ventured off-piste when he hit the right side of his head on a rock - the impact breaking his crash helmet and causing serious injuries.

Quincy's office said the rock that caused Schumacher to fall was 10.4 meters (34 feet) away from another rock upon which he hit his head. Both were more than four meters away from the edge of the red-level piste that he had been on.

"The accident took place in an off-piste area," the prosecutor's statement said. "The signage, marking, staking and information provided about the edges of this slope adhere to French norms in place."

Schumacher is still being treated at Grenoble's University Hospital, where doctors started waking him from an induced coma nearly three weeks ago.

At the time, the 45-year-old was said to be "responding to simple instructions" although there has been no official update on his condition since.

Meanwhile, a French ski and climbing academy has suggested that the

camera Schumacher had fitted to his helmet at the time of the accident may have contributed to his injuries.

ENSA said it had conducted tests to determine whether the presence of a solid object between a helmet colliding with a rock would weaken its structure.

"The helmet completely broke. It was in at least two parts. ENSA analysed the piece of the helmet to check the material, and all was OK," a source told The Daily Telegraph.

"But why did it explode on impact? Here the camera comes into question. The laboratory has been testing to see if the camera weakened the structure."