Wigan owner sorry for anti-semitic remarks but FA urged to act

BY foxsports • November 21, 2014

The Football Association has been urged to investigate comments by Wigan owner Dave Whelan after the 77-year-old was accused of anti-Semitism.

Whelan could be facing an FA charge after he responded to the controversy over Wigan's appointment of Malky Mackay as manager by telling the Guardian: "I think Jewish people do chase money more than everybody else."

The Wigan owner has since apologised for any offence caused but is facing a critical situation at the club after one of the shirt sponsors, kitchen firm Premier Range, announced it was breaking ties with the club due to his appointment of Mackay, who is himself the subject of an FA investigation for sending allegedly racist text messages to Iain Moody, his former head of recruitment at Cardiff.

Whelan claimed he saw little offence in one of the texts which, referring to the Jewish football agent Phil Smith, allegedly read: "Nothing like a Jew that sees money slipping through his fingers."

Whelan said: "The Jews don't like losing money. Nobody likes losing money."

Jewish Leadership Council chief executive Simon Johnson, a former FA and Premier League executive, called for the governing body to investigate.

Johnson told Press Association Sport: "I want the FA to look into this as a matter of urgency and to make sure it is not swept under the carpet to show that they are determined to kick racism out of football.

"Unfortunately these type of comments by Mr Whelan and Mr Mackay are using some of the worst old-fashioned, lazy and offensive racial stereotypes which have been used in the past as the basis for some quite vile anti-semitism."

Whelan also told the Guardian he did not view the word "chink" as offensive. Mackay had allegedly referred to Cardiff owner Vincent Tan, who is from Malaysia, by that word.

Furthermore, Whelan also said that he had been told by senior figures that "nothing will come" of the FA's investigation into Mackay.

That was met with a swift rebuttal from the governing body, while anti-discriminatory body Kick It Out, which had strongly condemned Mackay's appointment by the Sky Bet Championship club, questioned Whelan's position.

Whelan has now apologised for causing offence.

He told Sky Sports News: "I would never, ever insult a Jewish person. I have got hundreds and hundreds of Jewish friends. I would never upset a Jewish person I would never upset them because I hold them in the highest regard.

"If anyone takes offence to anything I have said, please accept my sincere apology. It's either a misquote or on that day I must have done 50 interviews."

He added: "The Chinese community - again, I've got loads of Chinese friends. I would never insult the Chinese. I know Malky Mackay insulted them and they take that name seriously. I understand their point of view completely. He apologised to them and I hope they accept that.

"I apologise on my behalf and on behalf of the club. We do not ever want to insult any nation or any person in the world."

Whelan added to BBC Sport: "I did not say that Jewish people chase money more than anybody else. I said that Jewish people do chase money, just like we the English chase money, and I don't think there's anything wrong in chasing money because we work for it.

"If those Jewish people are offended by what I said then I apologise immediately."

When asked about use of the word "chink", Whelan added: "There are all kinds of names given to people, given to the English, to the Scottish, to the Welsh, to the Irish, and the Chinese.

"People use these words a lot in common in various conversations - a lot of this talk goes on all around the world and people accept it and take because I don't think that there is an insult meant.

"If somebody says to a Chinaman 'you're a chink', would he be upset about it? I don't know really. If he was, I would say 'I'm very sorry, I won't call you that again'."

The FA issued a statement saying no decision had been taken about the outcome of its Mackay investigation.

It said: "We wish to make it clear the FA investigation into the conduct of Malky Mackay and Iain Moody remains ongoing and no assurances have been given by the FA as to the outcome of this case."