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VALBUENA CASE

Valbuena judge lifts restraining order on Karim Benzema

Examining judge Natalie Boutard rules order can be revoked but the public prosecutor is to appeal, leaving striker in Bleus limbo ahead of Euros.

The judge examining the case of alleged blackmail involving Karim Benzema and his France international teammate Mathieu Valbuena, Nathalie Boutard, has lifted the court restraining order preventing the Real Madrid striker from contacting or associating with Valbuena. However, 20 Minutes France reports that the judge’s decision will not be effected immediately and therefore Benzema still cannot be called up to the national team by Les Bleus coach Didier Deschamps.

The public prosecutor has also announced that the decision will be appealed at the Versailles court handling the case, leaving Boutard’s ruling in a state of temporary suspension.

Boutard also ruled that Benzema should still be prevented from making contact with any of the other people implicated in the case, which revolves around an alleged blackmail attempt against Valbuena over the existence of a sex tape featuring the Lyon midfielder.

Benzema’s absence from the national team a few months away from a home European Championship has become a matter of state in France. The forward’s excellent form for his club has led to a clamour for his inclusion in the squad for Euro 2016 after Benzema was excluded from Deschamps’ most recent Les Bleus call-ups for recent friendly matches.

Boutard’s ruling has opened the door ajar to Benzema being cleared to play this summer but the striker will have to wait for the time being to see what the result of the prosecutor’s appeal portends.