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Benzema denied Valbuena meeting

Karim Benzema’s request for a face-to-face meeting with France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena has been denied by the judge investigating their blackmail case.

Real Madrid striker Benzema is facing preliminary charges of conspiracy to blackmail relating to an extortion scam over a sex tape involving Valbuena.

Benzema’s lawyers hoped a meeting between the two players might ease tensions but Judge Nathalie Boutard ruled that the forward has no right to meet the Lyon midfielder.

The case is not expected to be dealt with until at least March and Benzema has been deemed “unselectable” by the French Football Federation until it is resolved, after French Prime Minister Manuel Valls joined calls for him to be banned from the national team.

Federation president Noel Le Graet said the period in which he will not be chosen would include the 2016 European Championships to be held in France, starting June 10, unless the case was settled before the tournament.

Le Great said: “I have decided that Benzema is not available for selection.

“I have decided, it’s a decision from the president of the French federation and not from the executive committee or the ethics committee that Karim Benzema cannot play for France until the situation evolves.

“As long as the judicial system has not decided that everything that has been published on Benzema is excessive, the federation will not change its mind.”

Benzema, who denies wrongdoing, is suspected of playing an active role in pressuring Valbuena to deal with the blackmailers in possession of the tape.


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