Soccer Club Head Apologizes for Anti-Semitism

Wigan FC head makes series of anti-Semitic statements - while attempting to downplay the team's manager's racist comments.

Tova Dvorin,

Soccer (illustration)
Soccer (illustration)
Flash 90

An English football (soccer) club and anti-Semitism have been linked yet again Thursday, after Wigan F.C. head Dave Whelan was forced to apologize for making offensive comments against Jews.

"The Jews don't like losing money," Whelan stated in an interview with the British Guardian. "Nobody likes losing money."

"Do you think Jewish people chase money a little bit more than we do?" Whelan continued. "I think they are very shrewd people. It's telling the truth. Jewish people love money, English people love money; we all love money." 

Whelan also made offensive comments against the Chinese, using the racial slur "chink" and claiming that doing so is the norm.

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

The football club owner apologized in remarks on BBC later Thursday, claiming that he did not intentionally say anything offensive. 

"All I was trying to say was that Jewish people are very similar to the English people in the desire to work hard and get money," he told BBC Sport's David Ornstein. "I didn't think that I did anything wrong in that."

"There are all kinds of names given to people, given to the English, to the Scottish, to the Welsh, to the Irish, to the Chinese," Whelan said.

"People use these words a lot in common 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."

The scandal surfaces amid a different brouhaha: the decision to hire new manager Malky Mackay, who allegedly made similar comments in a series of controversial text messages being investigated by the Football Association (FA). 

But Whelan's comments, apparently an attempt to downplay the remarks, caused more of a media furor than the original texts themselves. 

Meanwhile, the FA announced that an investigation into Mackay - despite the appointment - is still ongoing.

"We wish to make it clear that the FA investigation into the conduct of Malky Mackay remains ongoing and no assurances have been given by the FA as to the outcome of this case," it announced Thursday. "The FA did not come into possession of the relevant evidence relating to the messages until mid-October. "

"The FA is still investigating whether these messages indicate a culture in which other acts of a discriminatory nature may have taken place," it continued. "This process inevitably takes time."

This is not the first time a UK football club has been linked to anti-Semitism. In September, the Liverpool FC pulled a Rosh Hashanah tweet after it received numerous anti-Semitic responses. 

One month earlier, Gaelic football star Tommy McGuigan became the subject of police investigation after he urged fans to "punch Jews in the nose." 




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