November 20, 2014 / 9:33 PM / 3 years ago

Soccer-Wigan owner Whelan accused of anti-Semitism

LONDON, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Dave Whelan, owner of Championship club Wigan Athletic, has been accused of anti-Semitism and condoning racism after referring to Chinese as "chinks" and saying Jewish people "chase money".

He was quoted on the website of The Guardian newspaper on Thursday attempting to defend his hiring of former Cardiff City boss Malky Mackay who is under investigation by the FA for alleged offensive messages he sent while in charge of the Welsh club.

According to www.theguardian.com, Whelan said one of the messages described Cardiff owner, Malaysian Vincent Tan, as a "chink" while in another Mackay made derogatory remarks about a Jewish football agent.

"If any Englishman said he has never called a Chinaman 'a chink' he is lying," said Whelan. "There is nothing bad about doing that, it is like calling the British 'Brits' or the Irish 'paddies'.

He added: "I think Jewish people do chase money more than everybody else. I don't think that's offensive at all, it's telling the truth. Jewish people love money, English people love money, we all love money".

Whelan's comments were immediately condemned, with the Guardian quoting Chinese community leader Jenny Wong saying that the Wigan owner was condoning racism.

Former FA and Premier League executive Simon Johnson, who is chief executive at the Jewish Leadership Council, said on Twitter: "I call on Dave Whelan to withdraw and apologise for his use of disgraceful anti-Semitic language".

David Gold, co-chairman of Premier League West Ham United, was also unhappy with the remarks.

"I'm saddened by the words," Gold told BBC radio. "I hope that in some way he retracts this because it is damaging relationships between him and many other people."

One of Wigan's sponsors, which has its logo on the back of their shirts, withdrew its support for the club on Thursday over this week's appointment of Mackay.

In 2013, Wigan won the FA Cup and were relegated from the Premier League. (Reporting by Toby Davis, editing by Tony Jimenez)

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