Blanc: Ribery & Benzema eligible for France

PARIS - Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema could be selected to play for France despite being under police investigation on suspicion of soliciting sex with an under-age prostitute, coach Laurent Blanc said on Tuesday.

"Criminal investigations are very long. I'm here for two years. Ribery and Benzema are among the key players of the team," said Blanc in excerpts of an interview with Le Parisien posted on the newspaper's website.

Blanc said in the interview, which will appear in the newspaper on Wednesday, that the fact that a player was under judicial investigation did not disqualify him from being selected.

The future of both players had been uncertain after Health and Sports Minister Roselyne Bachelot and junior sports minister Rama Yade said that any player under judicial investigation should not represent France.

Blanc, who replaced Raymond Domenech earlier this month after France's first-round exit from the World Cup, suspended the 23 members of the World Cup squad for the country's next friendly game against Norway in Oslo next month.

Bayern Munich winger Ribery, who was part of the squad in South Africa, will be suspended for the Norway game, but Real Madrid striker Benzema was not in the World Cup squad.

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