Football’s club v country row is set to escalate further if as expected Newcastle challenge the FA’s selection of Michael Owen for England’s next match.
According to press reports over the weekend, Newcastle are set to launch what could be the most important lawsuit in football since the Bosman case.
The club is already frustrated by the FA’s refusal to pay up to £6million in compensation for the loss of Owen this season due to his injury on England World Cup duty.
Newcastle could attempt to set a precedent that sees clubs able to refuse to release players for all England matches unless the FA provide adequate financial compensation.
Owen’s comeback game, a friendly against Gretna last Tuesday, is good timing for England manager Steve McClaren, under pressure to qualify for Euro 2008.
The FA insured England’s World Cup squad, every player being covered for up to £50,000 a week in lost wages. Since Owen’s injury, half his £100,000-a-week pay has been met by the FA’s insurance, with United’s own insurers making up the rest.
The player was also subject to transfer speculation, as stories linking him to a return to the north west circulated, with Manchester United named as a possible new home.