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What Really Happened With Ben Arfa

8 years ago
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Since Ben Arfa’s successful (warned as to future behaviour, not banned) French disciplinary hearing on Friday, it has been claimed in some quarters that he had been in a bust-up with Newcastle United over his attendance, rather than available to play against Olympiakos in our friendly.

We put our intrepid French translator (investigator…) Pierre on the case and contrary to what you may have read, the most reliable and best source in France, L’equipe, reported that Newcastle United HAD given Hatem clear permission to defend himself at the hearing.

The problem comes with our national media and indeed independent Newcastle websites/blogs either lazily just pressing ‘translate’ on their PC, which can often give a very misleading ‘translation’ compared to what was actually said/written, and/or deliberately taking just one sentence out to make a headline, plus not all French ‘sources’ are equal.

The stories that have appeared over here were mainly based on what appeared on the French website le10sport

Ben Arfa fined by Newcastle?

The presence of Hatem Ben Arfa on the Boulevard of Grenelle on Friday made some news due to the altercation between his father and his adviser, Michel Ouazine. However, him attending was not originally intended. His club, Newcastle, with whom he would resume training in early last week and go on pre season in Portugal, was not in favour of him attending. But the enfant terrible of French football, anxious to justify, defend, and especially to ensure his future at the Blues, preferred to ignore the  Magpies and spend the day in Paris. A presence that would imply according to L’Equipe, that Newcastle took the decision to finally release him. “He could hide behind his club, he did not. He will bear the consequences “says his lawyer, Jean-Jacques Bertrand, on Tuesday in France Football Magazine. The article explains that Ben Arfa, who was not sanctioned by the FFF, could be fined by his club for going to Paris. He did not take part in the victory in Saturday night’s friendly against Braga however Ben Arfa , with a clear head, re- joined his teammates during the weekend. Still, common sense should prevail, but stay tuned …

It is tempting to think the English media is a one-off but it is the same in France and tabloid-style websites like le10sport pull bits of information from other newspapers/websites and then add their own attention grabbing headline.

As you’ll see from the translation above, even in one article they are quoting various sources and as they say, L’equipe are reporting they understand Newcastle United did ‘give permission/release’ Hatem to attend the disciplinary hearing.

It is only le10sport speculating that Ben Arfa could be fined, to get a headline, which then gets repeated and repeated as ‘fact’ over here.

Obviously it is a no-brainer that Alan Pardew would rather have had Hatem Ben Arfa available for the friendlies in Portugal but that is not the same as a major divide in the Newcastle camp.

United’s small but perfectly formed squad did wonders last year and much of that was built on Alan Pardew bringing harmony to the squad and creating a formidable team spirit.

The last thing we need is to let unscrupulous media outlets create friction, or indeed Newcastle fans happy to create a bit of mischief in order to grab a bit of attention.

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