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.
“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.
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?
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