France ban Benzema over sex tape

The French Football Federation (FFF) has indefinitely suspended star striker Karim Benzema because of criminal charges of involvement in a sex-tape blackmail attempt against teammate Mathieu Valbuena.

Federation president Noel Le Graet said the suspension would include the 2016 European Championship to be held in France - which gets under way in exactly six months - unless the case was settled.

"Karim Benzema will not be selected until the situation changes, until there is something new in the case. It is a decision I took as president of the federation," Le Graet said.

He added that either the charges had to be dropped or Benzema - the leading scorer among all current France internationals with 27 goals in 81 caps - and Valbuena had to reconcile.

"If there is no change in March [when the next internationals are held] he will not play, if there is no change for the Euro he will not play," Le Graet declared.

Le Graet said that the 27-year-old Real Madrid star was an "extraordinary" player but that the FFF had to take account of public opinion.

Valbuena was left out of France's last game because of the scandal, but he will be allowed to play again, the president said.

Benzema has been charged with complicity in the attempt to blackmail 31-year-old Lyon midfielder Valbuena.

Valbuena has said the sex images were on a mobile telephone that was stolen.

Three men have been detained for the cash demand to have the tape destroyed.

lMeanwhile, Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has been banned for three matches over an off-the-ball incident with West Ham United's Winston Reid, the Football Association announced yesterday. - AFP

Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.