French sports minister casts doubt on Benzema return


French sports minister Patrick Kanner has cast doubt over the suitability of having Karim Benzema return to the national team.

Benzema has been charged with complicity in an attempt to blackmail and participating in a criminal conspiracy in relation to a sex-tape scandal involving France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena.

The Real Madrid striker, who denies any wrongdoing, had been prevented from speaking with Valbuena, but a court in France lifted that sanction last week, opening up the prospect of him returning to Didier Deschamps' set-up.

But Kanner, though he accepts the decision is down to Deschamps and French Football Federation president Noel Le Grate, suggested the striker should not be recalled.

He told RTL: "I think that, when you sign the code of ethics to be a member of the France team, you have to respect it. I think that, today, those conditions are not met in the matter of Karim Benzema.

"At the same time, I will respect the sporting position and that of the federation [Noel Le Graet]. The coach wants to secure the services of the best French players, that's his position."