'Role Model' Owen Denies That His Gambling Is out of Control

Article excerpt

Byline: JOHN EDWARDS

MICHAEL OWEN came clean on his gambling habit yesterday, but angrily denied that it was spiralling out of control.

Liverpool's England striker was reeling from accusations that he had lost a fortune on football and horse racing over the past three years and that thousands of pounds had been frittered away on single bets. Owen said his losses over two years amounted to pound sterling30-pound sterling40,000.

The allegations followed claims he was involved in card sessions that reportedly cost one player pound sterling30,000 during England's World Cup campaign last summer.

But the 23-year-old mounted a vigorous defence of his betting activities and insisted it was under control, saying: 'I fully accept that high-profile sports people like me are role models for youngsters and I would never encourage anyone to gamble.' Owen hit back amid allegations that he had staked a total of pound sterling2.2million in two-and-a-half years with a leading bookmaker, a spread betting firm and even an offshore account set up by his father, Terry.

Distraught at the damage to his clean-living image, Owen dismissed the figure as 'inaccurate' and insisted that his 'occasional'gambling had not affected his form for club or country. …