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The transfer of Mathieu Flamini from Marseilles to Arsenal has hit difficulties with Marseille claiming the Premier League club have contravened French rules on signing young players.

According to letter of the French football law, Flamini should have signed his first professional contract with the club which brought him through the ranks – in this case Olympique Marseilles. Instead, Flamini signed a deal with Arsenal in the summer.

Marseilles chairman Christophe Bouchet will call in FIFA to help resolve the matter – since 20-year-old Flamini spent 15 years with Marseilles, and broke into the first team at the end of last year.

The Under-21 international appeared in the UEFA Cup final defeat last season, and joined the Gunners at the end of July.

Chairman Bouchet argued: “Mathieu Flamini has contradicted the rules becasue his was forced to sign his first professional contract with the club that educated him. The French League asked us if we’d offered him a professional contract, and we did.”

To compound matters, Marseilles feel that they’ve had to pay for Flamini twice over. Firstly, the costs incurred with his development and secondly, the cost of hiring a replacement when he left.

“We had to hire a new player [Eduardo Costa] because he left and we suffered an important loss.” Bouchet added. “This case is far from being settled”.

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