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Last Updated: Friday, 12 May 2006, 17:14 GMT 18:14 UK
French star refuses Tunisia offer
Lyon's Hatem Ben Arfa
Hatem Ben Arfa has rejected an initial request to play for Tunisia
French-born teenager Hatem Ben Arfa has rejected a possible place in Tunisia's World Cup squad.

The 19-year-old, who plays for French champions Lyon, was among 19 players called up for Tunisia's World Cup training this week.

"He didn't feel he was ready for international football and wanted to continue playing for France," Tunisian FA president Hammouda Ben Ammar said.

"He didn't feel that the 2006 World Cup was his time."

"But Ben Arfa, after a conversation with his (club) coach Gerard Houllier, has left the door open for Tunisia in the coming years because the rules allow him to make a choice before the age of 21.

"He said the call-up from Tunisia had given him enormous pleasure but that it was too premature for him," the federation statement added.

Ben Arfa was a member of France's under-17 team which won the European championship two years ago.

Tunisia name their squad for the World Cup, which starts on 9 June, on Monday.

Tunisia team guide
27 Apr 06 |  Tunisia
World Cup fixtures
09 Dec 05 |  Schedule
Have your say on the World Cup
28 Apr 06 |  Football
BBC World Cup coverage
27 Apr 06 |  BBC coverage

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