Real Madrid’s star forward Karim Benzema has been suspended indefinitely by the French Football Federation (FFF) and as a result he has been dropped the French squad that is supposed compete in Euro 2016. The suspension came on the backs of his alleged involvement in blackmail and extortion of his French national teammate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex-tape featuring Valbuena. Benzema was detained and presented in front of a judge in Versailles last month.
FFF President Noel La Graet issued a statement saying, “I have decided, it is a decision from the president of the French federation and not from the executive committee or the ethics committee. As long as the judicial system has not decided that everything that has been published is excessive, the federation will not change its mind.” This decision more or less eradicates Benzema’s chances of appearing in the Euro 2016.
Benzema has already admitted to his involvement in the case but maintains that he approached Valbuena on the request of a friend and he took no part or intended any harm to Valbuena. Benzema’s lawyer Sylvain Cormier had earlier said, “His heart goes to his friend Mathieu Valbuena. He took no part, I state this again – no part – in the blackmail or blackmail attempts.”
According to the prosecutor’s office in Versailles, Benzema is under probe for helping in blackmailing and participating in criminal activities. If found guilty the player can be sent to prison for up to 5 years which would surely spell doom for his career. His only relief at this moment seems to be the support from his club Real Madrid. Real released a statement that read, “The club values and recognizes the professional commitment, the displays of camaraderie with his teammates and the impeccable attitude he has shown as a core member of the first team squad for the more than six seasons that he has been a part of Real Madrid.”
This is not Benzema’s first tryst with illegal actions. In 2010, Benzema and Frank Ribery were accused of paying an under-age prostitute for sex in 2008. The prostitute, Zahia Dehar, later admitted that although she was 17 in 2008, she lied about her age to both Benzema and Ribery. Both players were acquitted butBenzema was dropped from the 2010 world cup squad over this scandal.