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Published: 13:01 | 17/12/15

Benzema suspended by France

Karim Benzema will not play for France until the conclusion of an investigation into his alleged involvement in a blackmail plot.

The Real Madrid star has been charged with trying to extort money from Benzema's fellow French international Mathieu Valbuena over a sex video.

He denies the charge but could face up to five years in prison if found guilty and the French Football Federation has decided to suspend the player until the conclusion of the case.

As a result he will not be available for the internationals in March and could miss Euro 2016.

"Today, Karim Benzema is no longer available for selection. It's a personal decision, I have informed [France coach Didier] Deschamps," FFF president Noel Le Graet said.

"Benzema will not be available for selection in March, nor for Euro 2016 if the situation has not evolved.

"The Benzema affair for me hurts, but I am sanctioning him because I am the president of the FFF.

"What can change things? That the case is finally closed, that the two players can become friends again after a meeting.

"What this case alleges is not favourable for Karim Benzema.

"It is not enough for the two players to get on with each other, the case must be closed [for Benzema to return].

"Karim has bad acquaintances, that is clear, but he himself is not implicated in anything at all.

"He is often criticised, not well liked because of his manner, but for me he is a footballer of the highest level.

"Karim knows that I am fond of him. If nothing changes before the Euros, he will not play. I hope that this goes away."

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