Dave Whelan: Wigan owner accused of anti-Semitism

Dave Whelan
Wigan manager Malky Mackay (left) has replaced Uwe Rosler at the Latics

Wigan owner Dave Whelan has been accused of anti-Semitism following comments he made to a newspaper.

Attempting to defend new manager Malky Mackay, Whelan used derogatory terms in an interview with The Guardian.

The Football Association is already investigating Mackay following allegations he sent offensive text messages while Cardiff manager.

Anti-racism group Kick it Out has questioned whether Whelan is a "fit and proper person" to run the club.

"The remarks act as another example of the culture which continues to exist within football and further proves that some in positions of power seem comfortable sharing those views, either privately or publicly," added a Kick It Out statement.

"These comments must not go unchallenged and have to be investigated by the Football Association."

Jewish Leadership Council chief executive Simon Johnson, a former FA and Premier League executive, tweeted his anger with Whelan, calling on him to apologise for his "disgraceful anti-semitic language".

Criticism of Whelan comes on the day a sponsor ended its agreement with the club over Mackay's appointment.

Mackay, and Cardiff's former head of recruitment Iain Moody are under investigation for alleged racism and anti-Semitism over email and text exchanges while in charge at the Welsh club.

Attempting to explain the 42-year-old Scot's appointment by the club, Whelan is reported to have said there was not a lot wrong with the content of his messages.

The Guardian quote him as saying: "It's telling the truth. Jewish people love money, English people love money; we all love money."

BBC sports editor Dan Roan
"For many, Wigan owner Dave Whelan's appointment of Malky Mackay - and now his controversial comments in defence of that decision - will provide further evidence that professional football exists in a moral bubble of its own, which all too often appears to be out of touch with modern values.
"Increasingly it's costing football, too, with commercial sponsors distancing themselves from football's world governing body Fifa over its handling of allegations of corruption, from Sheffield United after the decision to let convicted rapist Ched Evans train, and now from Wigan over Mackay.
"In the USA, the National Basketball Association banned Donald Sterling - the former owner of the LA Clippers - for life for racist comments. It will be fascinating to see how English football deals with Whelan."

The comments were described as "offensive" by West Ham United co-chairman David Gold.

He told BBC Radio 5 live: "I'm struggling to accept it and there it is black and white. It's undeniable."

Gold, who is Jewish, said he had known Whelan for a number of years and had never detected any anti-Semitic sentiments.

He added: "Maybe it's words that have come out that that he will now subsequently regret. I'm saddened by the words.

"I hope that in some way he retracts this because it is damaging relationships between him and many other people."

Earlier, kitchen firm Premier Range, which has its logo on the back of Wigan's shirts as part of a sponsorship deal that began in July, said it had been left in an "untenable" position by Mackay's appointment.

Premier Range website banner advertisement
Premier Range carries a banner advertisement on its website

"Mr Mackay is currently under investigation by the FA for sending text messages that are at odds with the general ethos here at Premier Range," a statement said.

"A team that would employ a man who expresses views such as these is not the kind of team Premier Range wish to deal with."

Wigan have been asked to respond but are yet to comment.

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