Embroiled in the Mathieu Valbuena sex-tape scandal, France forward Karim Benzema will not be selected for Euro 2016, the player and the French Football Federation (FFF) confirmed on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately for me and for those who have always backed me and supported me, I will not be selected for our Euro in France,” Benzema revealed on his official Twitter account.
Moments later, the FFF released a statement, confirming that the organisation’s president Noel Le Graet had met with France coach Didier Deschamps to discuss Benzema’s position. They said that "sporting performance is an important factor but not the only one that decides whether a player is called up to the France squad.
"The capacity of the players to strive towards unity, within and around the squad, to be exemplary...are also taken into account. As a result, Noel Le Graet and Didier Deschamps have decided that Karim Benzema will not be able to participate at Euro 2016."
Benzema, 28, was indefinitely suspended from the France team in December after he was placed under investigation over an attempt to bribe France teammate Valbuena over a sex-tape. Benzema has been accused of complicity in the attempt.
Legal restrictions barring Benzema from coming into contact with Valbuena were recently lifted, but the case has not yet been resolved.
The affair has gone right to the top of government in France, with Prime Minister Manuel Valls saying last month that Benzema should not be allowed to return to the France team while he remains at the centre of the investigation.
Benzema, who began his career at Lyon before joining Madrid in 2009, made his France debut as a teenager in 2007 and has since gone on to win 81 caps, scoring 27 goals.
France will host the European Championship, which kicks off on June 10 when Deschamps' side face Romania at the Stade de France.