France’s Mathieu Valbuena and Karim Benzema allowed to meet

No French reprieve for Real Madrid striker despite court lifting ban

France’s midfielder Mathieu Valbuena (left) and forward Karim Benzema during the 2014 World Cup. Photograph: Getty Images.

France’s midfielder Mathieu Valbuena (left) and forward Karim Benzema during the 2014 World Cup. Photograph: Getty Images.

 

A magistrate has lifted a ban on France striker Karim Benzema meeting team-mate Mathieu Valbuena, whom he is suspected of trying to blackmail over a sex video, which has meant the two could not feature on the same team.

The public prosecutor appealed, but dropped an earlier statement that the ban would have to stay in place until the appeal was heard.

Real Madrid player Benzema, who denies any wrongdoing, has been suspended indefinitely from the France team because of suspicion of involvement in a scam to blackmail Valbuena over a video sex tape.

Being allowed to meet Olympique Lyonnais midfielder Valbuena could, at least in theory, enable the two to play for the same team. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has said that Benzema should not play for France before being cleared.

The French national soccer federation has indicated that the 27-year-old, who has scored 27 goals in 81 appearances for his country, cannot be called up by the national team until he is convicted or cleared of the alleged offence.

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