Hatem Ben Arfa’s hopes of resurrecting his career with new club Nice have hit a major setback after FIFA ruled that the midfielder has already represented two teams this season.
Reports carried by both L’Equipe and France Football indicate that the federation have stood firm on the rules, meaning the former Newcastle man may have to wait until next season to play for Nice, should the French side opt to retain the former Marseille and Lyon star.
The 27-year-old played once for Newcastle United’s under-21 side in the Professional Development League prior to moving to Hull City on a season-long loan last September.
Tigers boss Steve Bruce cut that deal short after the midfielder returned to France back in December with Newcastle cancelling his contract with the club earlier this month.
Ben Arfa subsequently signed for Ligue 1 side Nice and was awaiting clearance from the France Football Federation that would have allowed him to play for his new club this term.
Unclear on the correct course of action, the Federation had contacted FIFA for clarification on the matter this week.
Under current rules, a player can only represent two clubs in any one season and with Ben Arfa previously turning out for Newcastle’s reserve side, it would appear that FIFA have rejected the midfielder’s claims.
Ben Arfa played just nine games for Hull during his loan stay at the KC Stadium and had been linked with several clubs prior to signing for Nice.
The Frenchman signed an 18-month contract with Les Aiglons back on January 5th, declaring, at the time, that "Even if Real Madrid had called at that moment, my mind was made up."