PARIS: Noel Le Graet has opened the door for striker Karim Benzema to return to the national team when legal proceedings against him for alleged blackmail have finished.

The Real Madrid star was suspended indefinitely by the FFF in December 2015 after being put under formal investigation by a judge for an alleged plot to blackmail France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex video.

Benzema, who denies any wrongdoing, subsequently missed Euro 2016 on home soil in June and July.

Le Graet, the president of the French federation, has said the 28-year-old will be available for selection again, but the final decision will rest with coach Didier Deschamps.

Deschamps was the man who took the final decision to omit Benzema from the Euro 2016 squad rather than Le Graet, who was prepared to be more pragmatic.

Le Graet said: “I am against lifetime punishments. Benzema needs to go through the courts, we won’t take a risk, whatever it might be. He already missed the Euros, that’s something.

“The problem hasn’t been raised for the moment, but he’s available for selection. The day when justice will be done, only then will Didier decide whether to integrate him or not.”

No court date has been set in Benzema’s case.

Benzema is yet to feature for Real Madrid in La Liga this season as he recovers from a hip injury.

Since the Euros, he has missed France’s 3-1 friendly victory over Italy in Bari on Thursday and will not play in their World Cup Qualifier in Belarus on Tuesday.

Benzema sits eighth on France’s top-scorer list, having found the net 27 times in 81 appearances for his country.