Benzema steps closer to Euro 2016 as Valbuena meeting ban lifted

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema's hopes of playing for France at the home Euro 2016 championships were boosted Friday as an appeal court lifted the ban on him meeting national team-mate Mathieu Valbuena.

Benzema has been charged with complicity in an attempted extortion of Valbuena over an alleged sex tape.

"We are working feverishly to prove the innocence of Benzema, and this is a first step," his lawyer, Sylvain Cormier, was quoted by sports paper L'Equipe.

Benzema had been suspended from the national team, putting his participation in the European Championship to be held in France from June 10 in jeopardy, but coach Didier Deschamps can now elect to pick him once more.

The French Football Federation (FFF) posted a brief response online, echoing that the decision was a "first step."

And it added the FFF was now considered a recognized civil party in the case.

The 28-year-old Benzema faces a lengthy bid to clear his name and could face five years imprisonment if found guilty. A blackmailer has reportedly demanded 150,000 euros (163,000 dollars) from Lyon player Valbuena to prevent publication of the sex video, with Benzema allegedly acting as an intermediary.

Last update: Fri, 11/03/2016 - 12:12


Missing in action: Euro 2016 without big names


Wednesday, June 1, 2016 - 11:02

More from Sport

Poll: Most fans would support gay players at clubs

The majority of football fans in Britain would have no issues with their club signing a gay player, according to a...

IOC confirm support for whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova

Russian doping whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova to receive a grant to support her training, an International Olympic...

Hamilton wins US Grand Prix to boost championship chances

Reigning Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton produced a flawless performance to win the United States Grand ...

Manchester City back on top despite 1-1 draw with Southampton

Manchester City went back to the top of the Premier League on Sunday despite a 1-1 draw with Southampton that left...

AC Milan edge Juve 1-0 in dull game

AC Milan edged a dominating but ineffective Juventus to a 1-0 victory Saturday, going second in the Serie A thanks...