International

Ben Arfa 'finished' with Nice

2015-02-03 19:04
Hatem Ben Arfa (Supplied)
Hatem Ben Arfa (Supplied)

Nice - French international Hatem Ben Arfa's move to Nice is "finished" after FIFA refused to validate his transfer from Newcastle because he had already played for two clubs this season, he said on Tuesday.

"It's finished with Nice," said the 27-year-old midfielder, adding he could "possibly" find a solution "abroad".

"I'm depressed, very sad, but I will not stop my career like that, I'm ready to go to the North Pole to play," he told a press conference.

"There are so many possibilities that I cannot say more about my future," added the former Lyon and Marseille player.

Ben Arfa had turned out for Newcastle's under-21 team at the beginning of the season and also played for Premier League side Hull on loan.

Under world football's governing body rules, he could not join a third team during the same season.

Complying with the FIFA decision, the French Football League on Friday banned Ben Arfa from playing for Nice this season.

The league's judicial commission on Tuesday agreed to cancel the contract, leaving Ben Arfa free to join an overseas club, who like the English Football Association (FA) do not consider under-21 matches as official.

It is a blow for Ben Arfa who had been looking to reignite his career in Nice, agreeing an 18-month contract early January with the club who were in 12th place just three places above the drop zone.

"Since he arrived, we won everything," said coach Claude Puel as the club moved up to eighth position after taking ten points in four matches.

"This is the end with Nice but maybe not permanently," said Ben Arfa, leaving the door open for a possible return to the Riveria outfit.

"I thank everyone here. My regret is not being able to continue here. I was very depressed (after the decision), I was really down," he continued.

"This morning (Tuesday) in training, my teammates really cheered me up. Things are better now.

"I don't even want to talk about the decisions taken concerning me. I accept them and I don't blame anyone.

"I prefer to think about the future. I'm not in the mood to stop. You know me, I'm not going to let this type of incident stop me."

Ben Arfa, who emerged as one of France's most promising players early in his career with Lyon and Marseille, won the last of his 13 caps for France at Euro 2012.

Widely regarded as the most talented of a group dubbed "Generation 87", which included Karim Benzema, Samir Nasri and Jeremy Menez, Ben Arfa often had difficulty complying with team discipline.

He clashed with successive coaches -- Gerard Houllier at Lyon, Eric Gerets and Didier Deschamps at Marseille, Alan Pardew at Newcastle -- despite winning four Ligue 1 titles with Lyon, one with Marseille, and being named the most promising Ligue 1 player in 2008.

Despite his international career starting on a high with a goal on his first call up against the Faroe Islands in October 2007, he also fell out with national bosses.

His final France match was under Laurent Blanc during Euro 2012 when he received a warning from the French Football Federation after a post-match bust-up with the coach.

Ben Arfa joined Hull on a season-long loan from Newcastle United last summer, but failed to make an impact in his nine Premier League appearances.

He also had a strained relationship with coach Steve Bruce who reportedly was unhappy with Ben Arfa's lack of work ethic at training.

He subsequently returned to Paris and was training on his own, fuelling speculation that he was looking for a return to France.

"Hatem has already been severely punished, we're looking at things to prevent him for being even more so," said Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere.

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