However, FIFA’s consultative opinion was that, on the basis that Hatem had also played for Newcastle’s Under-21s this season, there may be a breach of the rule against playing for three different clubs in one season.
The LFP therefore postponed its ratification of the transfer, and asked the FFF to ask FIFA to take an official “clear and firm” stance.
The FA have today also become involved, releasing a statement to say that, as far as they are concerned, “we do not consider Under-21 games as official matches”.
Nice have unsurprisingly jumped on this in order to move the matter forward, and publicised the statement, along with their own opinion that, the FA having taken the trouble to clarify their position, the matter is unequivocal and not open to any interpretation.
The 27-year old winger, in the meantime, is left in limbo, saying “why always try to create problems when there are none?” – if anyone is well placed to talk about that kind of thing, it’s Ben Arfa!
Hopefully for him and for Nice – the club that HBA professed that he would have chosen even if Real had made a bid for him – the move will be ratified soon. Say what you like about one of the famous members of France’s 1987 Generation – he certainly keeps things interesting.