Criticism of Dave Whelan grows as Jewish leaders wait for FA response


The Community Security Trust has accused Wigan Athletic owner Dave Whelan of reflecting “the persistence of dinosaur attitudes in football” after his antisemitic comments relating to Jews and money.

Mr Whelan issued an apology after he claimed the Jews “chase money more than everybody else” and said “Jewish people love money”.

The charity, which monitors antisemitism in Britain, said the former footballer turned businessman’s remarks had showed that further efforts must be made to combat racism in the sport.

A CST spokesman said: “Dave Whelan’s comments invoked antisemitic stereotypes about Jews and money and his apology suggests that he still doesn’t understand why his comments were offensive.

“It is an indication of how widespread such outdated attitudes still are within football, and how much work needs to be done to eradicate this way of thinking.”

The JC understands the Football Association has already been in contact with CST about Mr Whelan. The FA has not yet said what action it intends to take, but media reports suggest the governing body may be preparing to take strong disciplinary action.

Kick It Out, the football anti-racism body, said the comments had called into question whether the 77-year-old millionaire was a fit and proper person to be running a football club and called on the FA to take action against him.

Mr Whelan had made the remarks in an interview with the Guardian newspaper in which he defended Wigan’s appointment of Malky Mackay as manager this week. He also made offensive comments about Chinese people.

Mr Mackay is being investigated by the FA for alleged antisemitism and other racism in a series of text messages sent earlier this year.

Bury South MP Ivan Lewis told the BBC: “What we discovered yesterday was that Dave Whelan shares Malky Mackay's abhorrent antisemitic and racist views. In my view, the FA has to now take the toughest possible action against Dave Whelan."

Some figures within football have moved to defend Mr Whelan. Former Wigan manager Steve Bruce, now at Premier League side Hull City, said: “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."

Jewish groups have widely condemned the episode, with Jewish Leadership Council chief executive Simon Johnson leading the response.

Mr Johnson, a former FA executive, said Mr Whelan must withdraw his “disgraceful antisemitic language” and called for the FA to punish the Latics chairman.

Board of Deputies vice-chair Jonathan Arkush said Mr Whelan had brought the game into disrepute with “outrageous and offensive” comments.

“You cannot insult a whole group of people, and then say, ‘I would never insult them’, and hope that’s ok. We need to see a proper apology and full recognition of the offence caused,” Mr Arkush said.

The Board would be taking up the matter with the FA and Kick It Out, he added.

Mr Whelan claimed he had been misquoted and told the BBC: “If it’s causing offence to anybody, please accept my apology because I did not say that and I did not mean to insult any of my Jewish friends or any of the Jewish people.

“I did not say that Jewish people chase money more than anybody else. I said that Jewish people do chase money, just like we the English chase money, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong in chasing money because we work for it.

“If those Jewish people are offended by what I said then I apologise immediately.”

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