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FIFA Pares Down Compensation for Newcastle's Owen

Newcastle striker Michael Owen is finally set to return from injury next month after enduring more than a year-and-a-half of injury setbacks. The latest, an ACL tear sustained while playing for England during last summer's World Cup, infuriated Newcastle manager Glenn Roeder, who's only seen the star striker play 11 times for the club since his August 2005 move from Real Madrid.

The loss of Owen due to international duty caused Newcastle to seek $11.7 million in compensation from FIFA, soccer's world governing body. On Wednesday, the organization said it would pay less than $2 million, an offer it said was final. FIFA already contributes $98,000 a week (about half) of the player's salary while he remains injured, though Newcastle sought an additional $12 million from the organization, citing the need to find another player of a similar caliber.

"Newcastle have come saying they have to replace him with another player, that this is not fair," said FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who believes a club's insurers, its domestic soccer association and FIFA should equally share the burden of compensating clubs for players injured on international duty. To guard against the possibility of losing key players, Blatter says clubs should take out an insurance policy.

Read the whole story at Times Online »

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