FIFA Are Misinterpreting Their Own Rules On Ben Arfa


The news today is that Ben Arfa’s one game for the Newcastle U21 side this season, means that he played one game officially for Newcastle this season, and since players are only allowed to play for two clubs in a season, he cannot play for the French side Nice.

fifa image

Article 5.3 of the FIFA regulations on the status and transfer of players states the following (in full):

“Players may be registered with a maximum of three clubs during one season. During this period, the player is only eligible to play official matches for two clubs.”

“As an exception to this rule, a player moving between two clubs belonging to associations with overlapping seasons (i.e. start of the season in summer/autumn as opposed to winter/spring) may be eligible to play in official matches for a third club during the relevant season, provided he has fully complied with his contractual obligations towards his previous clubs.”

“Equally, the provisions relating to the registration periods (article 6) as well as to the minimum length of a contract (article 18 paragraph 2) must be respected.”

FIFA’s transfer rules state as above that a player cannot in general play for more than two clubs in a season, and since FIFA is saying that playing for the Newcastle reserve side is an official game for Newcastle United – which sounds a little bit ludicrous on the surface – then he’s not allowed to play for Nice.

hatem ben arfa

Ben Arfa playing for Hull City

It seems that the interpretation of FIFA rules is that they are classifying the Newcastle U21 (Reserve) side as a feeder club of Newcastle United – and Ben Arfa’s appearance therefore counts as a game – that’s their interpretation of their own rules.

But the Newcastle U21 side is not another organization, it’s part of Newcastle United FC, and it’s not an official game for Newcastle because if it was – it would count as an official appearance for Newcastle United and it doesn’t (QED – quod erat demonstrandum).

Only playing for the first team at Newcastle counts as an official appearance, and Ben Arfa has not played for the first team this season.

Here is the statement that was posted on Nice’s official site today:

“OGC Nice have received a copy of a correspondence sent by FIFA to the FFF. The international federation responded to the question posed by the French federation regarding a match played by Hatem Ben Arfa with Newcastle Under-21s.”

“Contrary to the position of the English Football Association, it appears that for FIFA the match in the U21 Professional Development League ‘must be considered as official in the sense of the regulation’ and ‘must therefore be taken into consideration in determining the application of article 5.3 of the regulation’ on the status and transfer of players.”

When you are interpreting rules common sense has to prevail – and this just seems to be an inaccurate way of interpreting the FIFA rules, and it’s interesting that the English FA don’t count the U21 game as a game for Newcastle United.

We hope this will be sorted out so Ben Arfa can play for Nice for the rest of the season, but with FIFA – not the smoothest running organization in the world – we will not be holding our breath.

If this doesn’t get sorted out then Newcastle will have to pay Ben Arfa’s wages through the end of his contract, which runs out on June 30th.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

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118 comments so far

  • optimistic prime

    Jan 14, 2015 at 7:45 PM

    Comment #1

    Canny

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  • WWSBRD

    Jan 14, 2015 at 7:46 PM

    Comment #2

    U21 league is a full competition so tough crack Benny should of worked harder really son wouldn’t of faced this problem

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  • Ibizatoon

    Jan 14, 2015 at 7:48 PM

    Comment #3

    Will we really need to pay the rest of his wages Ed? I thought the contract had been mutually cancelled?

    Isn’t this the problem of Nice now?

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  • tequilamag

    Jan 14, 2015 at 7:48 PM

    Comment #4

    It was announced his contract had been terminated by mutual consent from both parties. can`t see why we would have to pay his wages till June. On the bright side for Hatem “I only run when I get the ball ” Arfa he can tuck into as much Pain Au Chocalat as he likes for a good few months

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  • firebug666

    Jan 14, 2015 at 7:48 PM

    Comment #5

    Why would we have to pay his wages? His contract was cancelled by mutual consent, so he is no longer a Newcastle player. He now has a contract with Nice, they will have to pay him even if they cannot play him.

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  • toon kk

    Jan 14, 2015 at 7:49 PM

    Comment #6

    Let him play for us until the end of the season. He’ll make a good sub especially with all our injuries.

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  • james589

    Jan 14, 2015 at 7:52 PM

    Comment #7

    Haven’t posted on here in a while, but have been following the blog and comments etc. Probably about time I put in my two cents, apologies for the long post!

    I think the current situation at the club is poor to say the least. Jail for Ashley has summarised it perfectly at post 13. Yet again the club is failing to communicate with the fans. Did they not appoint a media liaison officer to improve the communication with fans? Biggest waste of space since JFK as DoF. Management have still not learned their lesson. We as fans need and deserve better communication from the club. The silence does nothing but create unrest and fuel speculation.

    With regards to the manager/head coach situation, I can appreciate what some people are saying re. don’t write Carver off before he’s had a chance. But if he is allowed to carry on as head coach, it’s a complete and utter cop out. That means we will have the exact same personnel in charge of team management as before, minus Alan Pardew – the club will be saving money on a head coach’s salary by failing to make a new full-time appointment, and no one will be filling whatever gap has been left by Pardew. Yes, Carver’s a local and is clearly keen to try his hand, but I think the job is too big for him, and I do not want to be proved right. I don’t want to see another season like the last where we had a half-decent start and then just scraped to the end of the season.

    Carver, Stone and Woodman are relics from the Pardew era and the fans will not forget that. For me personally, they all need to go and an entirely new management team brought in to freshen things up. I really hope we can get Garde or similar in, but the longer this plays out, the more unlikely that looks. No managers worth their salt will want the job because few want to work in the current hierarchy with no control over incoming/outgoing players. That leaves individuals willing to be the Board’s yes-man (another Pardew anyone?) and unproven managers (potentially disastrous but potentially brilliant). People have already gone on record distancing themselves from the position (McClaren, Howe, Clement), possibly people who weren’t on the shortlist anyway looking for PR, but I think the job is more of a poisoned chalice than it’s ever been. To be fair, fans may not have helped that with their treatment of Pardew at times. Can anyone blame a potential manager running scared because they don’t want the treatment Pardew had or don’t think they could do better with the system currently in place?

    Lots of speculation around our top players in Cisse, Perez and Sissoko – let’s not forget 17 of our 30 goals in all competitions have come from one of those 3. If any combination of them leave, I have absolutely no confidence whatsoever (based on recent history) that an adequate replacement will be sourced.

    We’re still missing a quality CF to replace Remy/Ba/Carroll – Perez has been a good find but is a work in progress rather than the finished article, and Riviere does not cut the mustard.

    Our CB situation is for a second season running, dire. I dread to think what will happen if Colo picks up an injury. The GK situation before/over Christmas showed how exposed our squad is. A neutral might put our injury plight down to bad luck – but to any Newcastle fan we know this is nothing new. It has been an issue for years now and little has been done to rectify it. I vaguely called a fitness consultant being appointed last season but I’m presuming that relationship has long since ended. Losing Aarons for long periods as he was just beginning to break through and Obertan when he was just beginning to realise his potential has been a blow. We haven’t even seen de Jong yet – maybe he will be “like a new signing”!

    We need some investment in the squad. It’s threadbare, with little cover in vital positions – strikers, CBs and GK (admittedly Darlow coming in at the end of the season will help with that one). No investment will happen until we get a permanent head coach in – if Carver gets the job on an interim basis, I guarantee MA will not back him with funds, and he won’t have the gonads to moan about it because he’s already brainwashed into MA’s ways.

    There are good players out there. Danny Ings’ contract runs out in the summer – despite what they say to the press, would Burnley rather cash in what they can now or risk losing him for nothing come June? Similarly Winston Reid could be picked up on the cheap from West Ham, as his contract is also up in the summer. If Ashley is as shrewd as I believe him to be, these potential bargains will not be going unnoticed. Those two signings alone would significantly improve our squad, and would both fit the bracket of relatively young players who could be bought on the cheap and sold at a profit. Ashley has taken matters into his own hands before this time two years ago and I would implore him to do the same again this January. It would appease the increasingly restless fans (at least temporarily), and maximise the money the club (and thereby he) can get from TV money in the summer.

    All sounds so simple when you write it out. Improve communication, sort the head coach situation ASAP and bring in a few players to plug the gaps to see us through to the summer. However, I’m pretty much expecting us to get to the end of the transfer window with no new faces, possibly some outgoing top talent, and no permanent head coach. On the one hand it means we may be able to tempt a ‘top’ manager to join in the summer. On the other, we will limp on to the end of the season, the players dispirited and directionless and the fans feeling annoyed and betrayed yet again. I hope I’m wrong.

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  • Jail for Ashley

    Jan 14, 2015 at 7:57 PM

    Comment #8

    james,
    It does very much look like we are limping from season to season, we all know what Ashleys in it for and that the coverage for SD, just think though if he showed more interest and made us a success he could be a hero on Tyneside, instead he’s going to be remembered as a spitefull greedy barsteward.

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  • John Tudor

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:03 PM

    Comment #9

    time to put up and shut up

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  • Jeff from Benwell

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:03 PM

    Comment #10

    Jail for Ashley—james589—-not a very good name for a 2nd ID

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  • WWSBRD

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:04 PM

    Comment #11

    We don’t have to pay his wages, he’s just without a club until the summer nothing to do with us anymore

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  • sparky55

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:04 PM

    Comment #12

    TIME TO FCUK OFF MORE LIKE

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  • firebug666

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:06 PM

    Comment #13

    WWSBRD

    He does have a club mate, he has signed an 18 month contract with Nice.

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  • firebug666

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:11 PM

    Comment #14

    Spurs 1 Burnley 2 and 11 minutes played.

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  • toonarmydownsouth

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:11 PM

    Comment #15

    Firebug
    Technically he hasn’t signed anything, due to concerns over whether or not he could play there’s a clause that if he can’t be registered with OGC Nice this month to play then the contract is null and void

    Ed
    We’re not paying his wages, his contract was terminated and he joined nice provisionally on a free transfer
    Also think the U21 game fully counts as playing for 2 clubs, it was a league game in a registered competition

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  • welshgeordie9

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:11 PM

    Comment #16

    Perhaps Ben Arfa can be our player/manager until the end of the season.

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  • WWSBRD

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:12 PM

    Comment #17

    firebug
    Without him being able to be registered id be surprised if Nice will pay his way for 6 months of him sitting at a buffet, though Ur right if they havnt got a clause covering them he can hold them to it

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  • Mister Tuff

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:12 PM

    Comment #18

    fool from the valleys.
    Another observation and question session.
    Observe the image attached and answer the question.

    https://calvertslivestocklowdown.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/gys-pig-of-year1.jpg

    Is the animal depicted called :-
    1. A Newcastle United Pig or
    2. A saddleback pig.

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  • WWSBRD

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:13 PM

    Comment #19

    toonarmydownsouth
    Ah back to making my points before I have time to write them down again eh…am getting wise to u!

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  • toon kk

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:14 PM

    Comment #20

    Tbh what’s the point of talking about HBH hes nothing to do with us any more. He will start to play for Nice next season.

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  • firebug666

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:15 PM

    Comment #21

    toonarmydownsouth & WWSBRD

    That’s fare enough, if he cannot be registered then I’m sure he can get a job in a chocolate factory till the end of the season, or sign on.

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  • welshgeordie9

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:16 PM

    Comment #22

    Mrs Tuff

    That is what i call, i couldn’t give a rats arse what kind a pig it is, you really are obsessed with animals aren’t you.

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  • TacoFlavoredKisses ForMyBen-arfa

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:16 PM

    Comment #23

    His agent forgot to pay the right people at FIFA….

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  • firebug666

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:17 PM

    Comment #24

    Southampton just scored

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  • welshgeordie9

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:17 PM

    Comment #25

    Some advice stop watching animal farm.

    Ha ha ha

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  • james589

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:18 PM

    Comment #26

    Agreed JFA – it’s such a shame. He’s always had a fractious relationship with fans. He’s made some really poor decisions – Wise and Kinnear appointments, local press bans and Carroll and Cabaye sales and non-replacements spring to mind. I should reiterate that particularly in the Cabaye case I don’t think the sale could be avoided but letting your best player leave without a replacement lined up for the second time in three years is just plain dumb. But he’s also done great things for the club in terms of bringing financial stability and securing our future. I recognise that and am grateful for it. There was a time when I even felt sympathy for him (for me the abuse in 2008 got a bit out of hand).

    But what I cannot understand, accept or forgive is his complete lack of ambition, passion and enthusiasm. Any other club chairman wants to see his club succeed, to challenge for titles, to be the best. Not Ashley. He seems hell-bent on maximising the profit from his investment. He could do that whilst making the club a success, but seems to choose not to. Every decision he makes is that of a stone cold businessman devoid of any sentimentality. Running a threadbare squad, when he does have to spend doing so frugally, and selling our top talents- players who could take the club to the next level if a squad was built around them. He could be loved, but it’s like he enjoys this big bad wolf role too much and I don’t understand it.

    One question in my mind is if they’re appointing a head coach rather than a manager because they won’t have control over transfers, then why is there no action in the transfer market without a head coach in place? My logical conclusion: there will be no transfer activity this month.

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  • WWSBRD

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:19 PM

    Comment #27

    firebug
    Haha he’d bloody love that job…though I imagine they would find him face down in a chocolate pool at some point

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  • Tsunki

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:19 PM

    Comment #28

    Free Agent is I believe the term everyone us struggling to pin down.

    Which leads me to wonder whether Ashley might be tempted to get him as he will be cheap. Work for steak bakes and caramel doughnuts etc.

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  • toonarmydownsouth

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:20 PM

    Comment #29

    WWSBRD
    Ha! Anyway he’s not are problem blew his chances at hull and now is facing the possibility of another 6 months out of professional football

    Can see him struggling to get his career going again now tbh

    Anyway…….where the f**k is our new manager!

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  • GeordieTwo

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:21 PM

    Comment #30

    If Aslhley goes to the end of the window without hiring a new “head coach” and then appoints Carver and doesn’t bring in any players it means he is finished with us in the summer. That would be good news indeed.

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  • toonarmydownsouth

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:22 PM

    Comment #31

    Tsunki
    It cost him a multi pack of quavers, a bag of dry roasted and some popcorn chicken to terminate his contract can’t Mashers paying all that to re sign the lad

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  • GeordieTwo

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:22 PM

    Comment #32

    He will start to panic in late February and March as we slide steadily down the table but he thinks we have just enough points to escape relegation He knows his methods don’t work and he’ll get caught out eventually and get us relegated so he will sell up in the summer.

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  • GeordieTwo

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:23 PM

    Comment #33

    It’s simply a matter of money. He will bail on us before he can relegate us again and lose more money.

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  • Average_Contents

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:24 PM

    Comment #34

    Didn’t he sign an 18 month contract with them, plus we released him ie contract terminated by mutual consent? So no he won’t be coming back here and no we won’t be paying any wages.

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  • GeordieTwo

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:26 PM

    Comment #35

    And those are my thoughts for the day. It doesn’t all end in tears. We rid ourselves of Mashers and we start fresh next season! 🙂

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  • toon kk

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:27 PM

    Comment #36

    James
    good post.
    I’m afraid it’s just all part of Mashleys regime, save as much as possible and make as much as possible.
    Thing is the club is run by a business man who looks at the money not the product just the same as SD.
    MA just either doesn’t understand or care what the club means to supporters.

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  • WWSBRD

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:27 PM

    Comment #37

    toonarmydownsouth
    His career is shot mate. Worst thing about it is no more football manager benefit but oh well

    Our managers in place mate we both know that long live the Carver era

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  • Average_Contents

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:29 PM

    Comment #38

    Just read the posts. Cleared up.

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  • sparky55

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:32 PM

    Comment #39

    GEORDIE TWO.

    Methinks you are bang on the money there mate…my sentiments exactly

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  • sparky55

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:34 PM

    Comment #40

    @29

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