After a month of much debate and passing the buck, FIFA have made their final decision that Hatem Ben Arfa cannot play for Nice this season.

Having played for Hull on loan, the French Football League (LFP) have announced in a statement that playing in an Under 21 match against Reading counts as having played for a second club this season. Players only allowed to play for two different clubs in any one season so Nice is one club too far.

While he can’t play competitive matches, Hatem Ben Arfa can train with his new ‘teammates’ until he is eligible to play next season.

The statement on the LFP official website read:

‘Following the request made by the FFF (French Football Federation) and LFP, the Single Judge of the Players’ Status Committee of FIFA has communicated this Friday, January 30 decision.

He felt that the matches played in England as part of the ‘U21 Professional Development League’ should be considered as official matches within the meaning of Article 5-3 of the Regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players of FIFA.

Pursuant to this decision, the Legal Committee of the LFP, which met in emergency session this afternoon, has no choice but to prohibit Hatem Ben Arfa to participate in official meetings with the OGC Nice until the end of this season.

However, pursuant to section 5-3 of the FIFA Rules and Regulations LFP 212 under which ‘a player may be registered with three successive clubs but cannot play official matches for two clubs,’ the Legal Committee are able to proceed with the registration of Hatem Ben Arfa contract with OGC Nice as desired by the parties. The player will be able to train with OGC Nice in secure legal conditions.’