BREAKING NEWS: France suspend Benzema

Karim Benzema has been banned from playing for France until the conclusion of a legal investigation surrounding his alleged involvement in a plot to blackmail international team-mate Mathieu Valbuena.

Benzema has been charged with complicity in an attempt to blackmail and participating in a criminal conspiracy as part of an investigation into a sex-tape plot involving Valbuena. The Real Madrid striker denies the charges.

The decision to suspend the Real Madrid star was announced by French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet on Thursday and could jeopardise his involvement at next year’s European Championship, which will be played in France.

“Today, Karim Benzema is no longer available for selection,” he said. “It’s a personal decision, I have informed [France coach Didier] Deschamps.

“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.”