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Last Updated: Friday, 20 April 2007, 08:29 GMT 09:29 UK
Premiership backs Newcastle claim
Newcastle striker Michael Owen
Owen is still battling back to full fitness after injury
The Premier League has backed Newcastle's claim for compensation from the Football Association for Michael Owen's serious injury on England duty.

Owen, 27, suffered knee ligament damage against Sweden in the 2006 World Cup.

Newcastle have received about 6m compensation from the FA, Fifa and, their insurer, but want to recoup 150,000 paid out in getting Owen fit.

They have threatened legal action and Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards says the claim is "justified."

He said: "I think Newcastle's chairman Freddy Shepherd is very, very justified in asking for certain things."

Shepherd has indicated he is prepared to go to court to prevent England calling up the player for the vital Euro 2008 qualifier against Estonia in June.

And Richards said: "It is something that needs sorting out in the game. I ask, 'Who has suffered out of this?' Well, Michael Owen has, but Newcastle United have as well because they have not had his services and someone has got to pay for that.

"I think Mr Shepherd is justified in saying this is what we've got to do. I think it is a real test case.

"I think it is a shame that football has to get itself in this position, when it is not difficult for the FA and Newcastle to get together to sort this out outside the media.

"But Mr Shepherd and Newcastle are one of our members and obviously they have the support of the Premier League."

Owen,meanwhile, may have to delay his return from a 10-month injury lay-off until his side's trip to Reading on 30 April.

Magpies boss Glenn Roeder said on Thursday that Owen, 27, is '50-50' to play against Chelsea on Sunday.

But, speaking from Newmarket races on Racing UK, Owen said: "I am looking at the game after that to make my return.

"I am just feeling the effects of doing so much work and I have got a bit of a tight groin at the minute."


He has long identified this weekend's fixture as the one in which he hoped to feature again.

But Newcastle manager Glenn Roeder says the former Liverpool and Real Madrid frontman will not return unless in his opinion he is "in pristine condition".

"At this stage, I have not even discussed it with Michael as to whether he will be back for us on Sunday," added Roeder.

"His groin is a bit sore, but that is what happens when players have been out for a long time, they pick up niggles in other parts of their body.

"He certainly has not been ruled out of the Chelsea game but, if in the end he is, then we will start looking to our next match at Reading."

There had been fears that Owen's comeback would be delayed again after he was not selected in Newcastle's reserve squad to face Middlesbrough on Tuesday.

His only action so far came when he played 70 minutes in a friendly against Gretna at the club's training ground on 10 April and scored.

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