French prime minister Manuel Valis believes striker Karim Benzema should remain absent from the national team during an investigation into a sex tape blackmail incident.
“I think that the conditions have not yet been met for Karim Benzema to come into the France team. He is still under investigation," Valls said Tuesday on French radio station RMC.
Benzema, 28, has been suspended indefinitely by the French Football Federation since December, after he was arrested and a criminal investigation began into the attempted blackmail of national teammate Mathieu Valbuena. Valbuena appears in the sex tape, and Benzema has been accused of complicity in attempting to extort money from him.
“For young people, a great sportsman must be exemplary,” the prime minister added. “(Football) is our heritage, it’s not something that just interests amateur sports fans, so we have to be careful, all acts and decisions have their importance. At the same time it is a decision for the French football federation and the coach.”
France coach Didier Deschamps has said recently he hopes to see Benzema return to the team with Euro 16 on the horizon this summer.