Karim Benzema blackmail scandal: What is a suspended sentence?

Karim Benzema has today been given a one-year suspended jail term after being found guilty of complicity in attempted blackmail.

Benzema has also received a €75,000 fine. Last month, the forward was put on trial, along with five others, over an attempt to blackmail France team-mate, Mathieu Valbuena, with a sex tape.

As per The Athletic, the case judge stated in his closing remarks that Benzema did take part in the scheme, although he was not aware of all the details of the blackmail.

Benzema’s lawyers stated they were “angry” about the verdict, and claimed the Frenchman has been “condemned to a severe, unfair sentence, without any proof”. They also said that the Real Madrid forward would be lodging an appeal. Benzema had denied any wrongdoing.

What is a suspended sentence?

A suspended sentence is where an offender is given a jail term, but doesn’t have to go to prison immediately.

The offender, however, must comply with specific requirements set up by the court.

As per the Sentencing Council website, should an offender not comply with those requirements, or is convicted of a separate crime during the timespan of the suspended sentence, they likely have to serve that suspended sentence in prison.

Will Benzema still be able to play for France and Real Madrid?

The president of the French Football Federation, Noel Le Graet, has said that Benzema remains “available for selection” for his country.

The 33-year-old was dropped by the national team after being implicated in the scandal in 2015 and was not picked again until Euro 2020.

During the tournament, Benzema struck four goals in four games. He later scored in the 2021 Nations League final, which France won.

Le Graet told L’Equipe: “I do not know what Karim and his lawyers will decide, if they are going to appeal, but as it concerns the FA, there is no change.”

“He remains available for selection, all whilst regretting the situation. He did not play for several years with the French national team. This sanction changes nothing for me.”

“He remains available for selection. Even if he doesn’t appeal, for me, it changes nothing. He has the right to work. We can make a mistake, be sentenced and still get back to work.”

Benzema has played in Real Madrid‘s Champions League fixture against Sheriff Tiraspol tonight.

Where is Mathieu Valbuena currently playing?

Mathieu Valbuena currently plays his football for Greek giants Olympiakos. The 37-year-old joined the club from Lyon, where he spent two years.

The playmaker has won 52 caps for France. He hasn’t played for his country since 2015 – the year the case came to public prominence.

He scored eight goals for his country, including the second goal in a 2-1 friendly victory over England at Wembley back in November 2010.

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