Wednesday 21 August 2019

Karim Benzema blackmail episode 'won't harm French federation'

Karim Benzema, right, with Mathieu Valbuena. (AP)
Karim Benzema, right, with Mathieu Valbuena. (AP)

The blackmail scandal involving Mathieu Valbuena and Karim Benzema has not harmed the French football federation, according to its president Noel Le Graet.

Benzema was interviewed by police last week in relation to an alleged sex tape involving his France team-mate Valbuena, and both players have been left out of Didier Deschamps' squad for the friendlies against Germany on Friday and England next Tuesday.

Deschamps has said Valbuena was not in the right mental condition for selection due to the scandal, but insisted the absence of Benzema - whose lawyer Sylvain Cormier has protested his client's innocence - was down to his thigh injury.

France host the European Championship next summer, and regarding the Valbuena-Benzema situation, Le Graet told Le Monde: "This is bad for both players, not the federation.

"On the side of the FFF, everything is in place for the Euros.

"The technical aspect belongs to Didier (Deschamps). The organisational aspect belongs to (Euro 2016 boss) Jacques Lambert and the FFF. The ticket office is in full swing. Sponsors are here.

"We would have preferred to do without this case, but it has no consequences. There are no worries."

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