Hatem Ben Arfa banned from playing with new club Nice this season
PARIS (AP) — Hatem Ben Arfa's career took another turn for the worse as the French football league confirmed Friday that he won't be allowed to play for Nice this season.
Ben Arfa joined Nice this month but the French midfielder will have to wait until next season before making his debut after FIFA refused to give him clearance to play.
FIFA's decision is based on a rule stipulating that a player cannot appear for more than two clubs in the same season.
Ben Arfa joined Newcastle from Marseille in 2010 but fell out with former manager Alan Pardew, who dropped him from the first team squad. He played for Newcastle in an under-21 match in August before moving to Hull on loan.
Ben Arfa, who has been registered as a Nice player and is allowed to train with the team though, argued that the under-21 game should not count as an official match.
Nice regretted the decision and said in a statement it will file a lawsuit in a French court.
"Given the way French football authorities brought this matter, we are not surprised by the decision," Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere said.
Ben Arfa, a member of the so-called "Generation 87," a group of promising players born in 1987 that included Karim Benzema and Samir Nasri, failed to live up to expectations after leaving Lyon in 2008.
Ben Arfa made his first international appearance in 2007 but his career with France has stalled since a dispute with former coach Laurent Blanc at the 2012 European Championship. He has scored two goals with the national team.