A lawyer for Paris Saint-Germain forward Hatem Ben Arfa has been in touch with the Ligue 1 Committee on Legal Affairs amid suggestions the club have breached regulations by asking the player to train with the reserve side.
Ben Arfa moved to PSG in the summer of 2016 and has struggled to make an impact. This season he's yet to feature for the Ligue 1 giants and according to L'Equipe (h/t Mark Rodden of ESPN FC), he's since been told to train with the youth players.
Speaking to L'Equipe, Ben Arfa's legal representative Jean-Jacques Bertrand insisted PSG have handled the situation incorrectly.
"We demand that the club respects its obligations," he said. "There is a very clear regression in Hatem's working conditions here."
According to Bertrand, Ben Arfa was informed by phone on Thursday that he would be training with the reserves from now on. That's after he was demoted from the first-team group during preparations for Wednesday's UEFA Champions League meeting with Bayern Munich, something the 30-year-old is said to have "understood."
"What was presented as a temporary measure is in fact permanent in disguise," continued Bertrand. "It's a lack of respect for a staff member—a real freezing out."
Per Ligue 1 journalist Jeremy Smith, Bertrand has previous spoken about the situation and what impact Ben Arfa could have in the reserve team:
Jeremy Smith @jeremysmith98
Hatem Ben Arfa's lawyer on his client being omitted from PSG's first team squad: "he could become the Neymar of the reserve league".2017-9-6 17:05:36
As reported by Rodden, the belief from Ben Arfa's lawyer is that any demotion would constitute a drop in training standards, something that's not permitted for players with senior contracts.
"PSG were involved in a similar dispute in 2011 when they were ordered to allow Peguy Luyindula to resume first-team training after the striker successfully appealed the club's decision to exclude him," added Rodden.
It's a disappointing situation for the player, as his career appeared to be back on track after a brilliant season with Nice in 2015-16, per Squawka Football:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Hatem Ben Arfa's Ligue 1 season by numbers: 34 games 149 take-ons 33 chances created 17 goals 6 assists Unreal. https://t.co/fWbWjCVodx2016-7-1 12:18:34
However, at PSG he struggled to win over manager Unai Emery and fell down the pecking order in making just five Ligue 1 starts.
According to Jonathan Johnson of ESPN FC, there was interest in the previous window from Fenerbahce, but the player turned down the transfer. With Neymar and Kylian Mbappe arriving at the Parc des Princes, it appears there's no way back for the former Lyon and Marseille man now.
Ben Arfa will be hoping a club can give him a chance to reignite his career yet again in January. In what should be the peak years of his career, time spent in the reserves or on the fringes at PSG is time wasted.