Newcastle United striker Michael Owen has accepted a public apology and substantial undisclosed damages over “incredulous allegations” that his football career was over.
The Newcastle and England striker was not at London’s High Court for the settlement of his libel action over a story in the Daily Express last month.
Owen’s solicitor John Kelly told Mr Justice Eady that it falsely alleged that Premier League clubs did not want to sign him and, as a result of a lack of interest, he was on the verge of retiring from professional football at the end of the season.
Kelly said: “These incredulous allegations are entirely without foundation and were obviously extremely distressing, hurtful and damaging to the claimant.”
Ian Helme, counsel for Express Newspapers, which has agreed to pay damages and Owen’s legal costs, accepted that the allegations were false and without foundation and apologised for the distress, embarrassment and offence caused.