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Wigan chairman accused of anti-Semitism

22 November 2014, 07:55

London - Wigan chairman David Whelan was on Friday accused of anti-Semitism as the fall-out of the club's controversial hiring of manager Malky Mackay continued.

Mackay was hired by Wigan this week just three months after the Football Association revealed they were investigating text messages, sent during his spell in charge at Cardiff, which he admitted were "disrespectful" of other cultures.

Mackay's arrival at English second-tier strugglers Wigan prompted one of the club's shirt sponsors to end their support of the side on Wednesday.

Now the FA are being urged to investigate comments 77-year-old Whelan was quoted as telling The Guardian.

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

Whelan, the paper wrote, 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, wants the governing body to investigate.

Johnson told Britain's Press Association: "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 has since apologised for any offence caused, saying he had been misquoted.

But the main representative body of British Jews has called his comments "outrageous" and labelled his apology as "half-hearted".

The Board of Deputies of British Jews vice-president Jonathan Arkush said in a statement: "Dave Whelan's comments about Jews are outrageous and offensive, and bring the club and the game into disrepute.

"His half-hearted apology does not go far enough. You cannot insult a whole group of people, and then say, 'I would never insult them', and hope that's OK.

"We will be taking up the matter with the Football Association and Kick It Out."

Whelan received support from Hull manager Steve Bruce, who managed Wigan twice under Whelan's watch.

"Maybe sitting on the fence might be the easiest thing to do but I've worked under Dave Whelan twice - I know him very, very well," said Bruce.

"There's no racism in him at all. Sometimes words can be said which can be misplaced, they can be out there in the public domain, but certainly when I've worked with him there's been no sign of racism.

"He is without question one of the best chairmen I've worked for. What you see is what you get."



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