“Dropping Benzema From The Squad Was A Difficult Decision” – FFF President Noel Le Graet
FFF president Noel Le Graet has revealed it was a difficult decision to drop Benzema from the squad, but integrity must be preserved.
The Real Madrid forward was suspended in December, in relation to a blackmail incident involving him and teammate Valbuena’s sextape.
The 28-year-old has been charged with complicity in an attempt to blackmail and participating in a criminal conspiracy, though he denies any wrongdoing.
Le Graet has revealed that he and Didier Deschamps took several days to come to a final decision before the head coach informed the attacker, who was left “very, very sad”.
“It was a difficult decision to make, as you can well imagine,” Le Graet told L’Equipe .
“I repeat that I have affection for the boy, but we had to preserve the France team, the collective. During the Euros, we would have been in the following situation: ‘Benzema succeeds or Benzema fails.’
“Now this is a group that will succeed or fail. It was the right time to focus our attention, that of the coach and the media, on the other players. They are the ones that will play, and they deserve it.”
Le Graet went on to say that he hopes to see Benzema acquitted, and dismissed the notion that France will have to lower their ambitions for Euro 2016 without their star forward thanks to the likes of Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann.
“Frankly, I’m not worried. The objective remains the same. We are targeting the semis or better if possible.”