Hatem Ben Arfa cancels 'meet and greet' with Newcastle United fans

Newcastle's Hatem Ben Arfa and Cardiff's Aron Gunnarsson in action during their FA Cup third round match on January 4, 2013
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Exiled midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa cancels a 'meet and greet' with Newcastle United supporters in order to avoid a "media circus".

Out-of-favour Newcastle United midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa has cancelled a 'meet and greet' with fans in a bid to avoid a "media circus".

The Frenchman's future with the Magpies has looked bleak after he dropped out of contention towards the end of last season, and he has been training away from manager Alan Pardew's first-team squad.

The midfielder had arranged to meet supporters tonight at sports memorabilia store The Backpage, who advertised the event on their Facebook page two days ago.

However, today's open training session with Newcastle's players today at St James' Park appears to have caused Ben Arfa's decision to cancel the 'meet and greet' because he was not included in the session.

A statement read: "When the 'meet and greet' was organised it wasn't known that Hatem was to be excluded from the SJP session. This has unfortunately turned the whole situation into a media circus which would do neither party any good whatsoever. Hatem apologises and is saddened that he is unable to meet his fans this time."

Reports have claimed that Pardew questioned Ben Arfa's professionalism during last season's campaign.

Newcastle's Hatem Ben Arfa and Cardiff's Aron Gunnarsson in action during their FA Cup third round match on January 4, 2013
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