PFA Deputy Chief Executive Bobby Barnes has spoken to French daily newspaper Le Parisien about Hatem Ben Arfa’s move to Nice, which has been placed under serious threat following a report from FIFA on the matter. FIFA ruled that Ben Arfa’s game for Newcastle U21s counted as a professional match for the club, thus preventing the winger from joining OGC Nice this January.
Barnes was extremely surprised by FIFA’s decision, again highlighting that the FA themselves did not consider the match to count as a professional game. He said: ‘I just had the FA on the phone. They again confirmed to me that the U21 game Hatem Ben Arfa participated in last August with Newcastle can not be considered an official meeting at pro level. It is equivalent to a friendly match – it was only so that he maintained his fitness levels. Ben Arfa should be allowed to play for Nice.’