UK Soccer Club Owner Punished for Racist Remarks

Wigan Athletic owner Dave Whelan punished for comments in an interview claiming Jews 'love money', calling Chinese 'chinks.'

Ari Soffer ,

Dave Whelan
Dave Whelan

The owner of British Premier League soccer club Wigan Athletic was handed a six-week ban from all "football-related activity", as well as a £50,000 fine, for making offensive comments about Jewish and Chinese people. He is also required to attend a mandatory Football Association "education program."

78-year-old Dave Whelan received the punishment Wednesday, after facing a storm of criticism in November due to statements he made in an interview with the Guardian newspaper.

Asked about racist text messages sent by the club's new manager Malky Mackay, which included derogatory references to Jews, the Chinese and others, Whelan jumped to his defense, reportedly saying: "The Jews don't like losing money. 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 about the Chinese, claiming that there was nothing wrong with using the racial slur "chink".

"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 'Paddys'."

Whelan has since apologized profusely for the comments and accepted charges by the FA Disciplinary Committee for "improper conduct", but insisted he did not mean to offend anyone. He also claimed in a BBC interview that his statement about Jews was "misquoted."

But he landed himself in hot water again after telling the Jewish Telegraph newspaper that he used to refer to Chinese people as "chingalings". Those comments were not included in the Football Association investigation.

The Wigan owner has one week to appeal the punishment.

He had previously said he was resign immediately if he was "found guilty of being a racist."

But in a statement, his club said the ruling proved that, while his comments were out of order, "Mr Whelan is not a racist,"

"It is clear he himself is very upset by the words he used and he moved very quickly to apologize publicly, plead guilty and begin to make amends." Wigan Athletic said in a statement.