Hatem Ben Arfa has been denied clearance to play for new club OGC Nice, after FIFA ruled that the Frenchman has already played for two clubs this season and therefore is not allowed to appear for another club until the summer.

The 26-year-old signed a deal with the Ligue 1 club earlier this month after negotiating a premature release from his Newcastle contract and was expected to make his debut last week.

The problem stems after Ben Arfa appeared for Newcastle’s under 21 side back in August before making a loan move to Hull; the second club he’s represented this season.

Nice were basing an appeal around the fact that an under 21 game does not qualify as an official game but FIFA have ruled that it does and in turn, Ben Arfa won’t be available to play for his new club until the summer.

Whether or not Newcastle knew that the former Marseille man would not be able to play for another club before releasing him from his contract, it now looks like a smart move on their part.

Whatever happens with the situation, it does not affect the Magpies in any way after the cancellation of his contract earlier this month.