Karim Benzema will not be selected in France squad for Euro 2016
Karim Benzema will not be part of the France squad at Euro 2016, the French Football Federation has confirmed.
Benzema, 28, was suspended indefinitely from the national team after being charged with conspiracy to blackmail as part of an alleged attempt to extort funds from his international teammate Mathieu Valbuena.
He is accused of accepting a request from a childhood friend to act as an intermediary between the blackmailers and Valbuena, but he denies any wrongdoing.
The FFF confirmation came as the Real Madrid striker wrote on Twitter: "Unfortunately for me and for all those who have always supported me. I will not be selected for our Euro in France..."
Malheureusement pour moi et pour tous ceux qui m'ont toujours soutenu et supporté. Je ne serai pas sélectionné pour notre Euro en France...- Karim Benzema (@Benzema) 13 April 2016
France coach Didier Deschamps and FFF President Noel Le Graet met to discuss the future of the Real Madrid striker on Wednesday.
Last month, Le Graet said a decision on Benzema's future with France would be made by April 15.
Earlier, the investigating judge in the Valbuena case had lifted a legal restriction that prevented Benzema from having any contact with the Lyon winger. On the same day the judge granted the FFF access to all files related to the case.
That led to speculation that Benzema would return to the France squad in time for Euro 2016.
Le Graet later confirmed that French football's governing body would make a "definitive" decision after France's recent friendlies against Netherlands and Russia, both of which the French won without Benzema.
In its statement on Wednesday, the FFF noted that the evidence currently available did not establish the exact involvement of the accused, including Benzema, and that another court date would be required to do so.
It also confirmed that this would not prevent Benzema from being made available for selection.
"In light of this evidence, and the partial lifting of the judicial supervision of Mr Benzema, which newly makes possible his call up to the French team, there is no legal obstacle in the case that he might be selected," the statement read.
It added, however, that during his meeting with Deschamps, Le Graet had said that "sporting performance is an important criteria but not exclusive" for deciding who would be on the roster.
"The ability of players to work towards unity, within and around the squad, exemplarity and the preservation of the squad are also taken into account," the statement continued.
"As a result, Noel Le Graet and Didier Deschamps have decided that Karim Benzema will not be able to take part in Euro 2016."
Speaking after Real Madrid's Champions League victory over Wolfsburg on Wednesday, Benzema had told French newspaper Le Monde he would "be calm, stay quiet and wait" for the announcement.
He added: "I let them do what they should do and then [rule on] what's best. The France team means a lot to me, especially a Euros at home."
Quoiqu'il arrive... Bleu un jour... Bleu toujours !!!https://t.co/yHoEDzAt21- Karim Benzema (@Benzema) 13 April 2016
Before the FFF announcement, he had tweeted a video of some of his best moments with France, accompanied by the message: "Whatever happens... once a Bleu... always a Bleu."
Mark covers European football for ESPN FC. Twitter: @mrodden