Football club chief apologises after saying Jews chase money


The owner of Wigan Athletic football club has been forced to apologise after making antisemitic comments about Jewish attitudes to money.

Dave Whelan said that Jews “chase money more than everybody else”, adding: ”Jewish people love money”.

Mr Whelan also said that there was “nothing bad” about calling a person of Chinese origin a “chink”.

“It is like calling the British Brits, or the Irish paddies”.

He made the remarks in a newspaper interview in which he defended the club’s appointment of Malky Mackay as its manager.

Mr Mackay is currently being investigated by the Football Association for alleged antisemitism and racism in a series of texts sent while he was manager of Cardiff City.

In them, a reference to Jewish football agent Phil Smith was followed by the comment: “Nothing like a Jew that sees money slipping through his fingers.”

Another text described Cardiff City owner, the Malaysian Vincent Tan, as a chink.

Mr Whelan said he did not think there was “a lot wrong” with what Mr Mackay is alleged to have said, and that he believed Mackay was only reflecting that Jewish people “love money” like everybody does. “It's telling the truth. The Jews don’t like losing money. Nobody likes losing money,” he said.

His comments were condemned by Simon Johnson, a former FA head who is the chief executive at the Jewish Leadership Council.

“Unfortunately Mr Mackay and now Mr Whelan have referred to some of the worst old-fashioned tropes which have been used in the past as the basis of antisemitism and stereotyping of Jewish people,” he said.

In a tweet, he called on Mr Whelan to “ withdraw and apologize for his use of disgraceful antisemitic language.”

Kick It Out, the football anti-racism body, said the comments had called into question whether the 77-year-old multt-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 later asked anyone offended by his comments to accept his “sincere” apologies.

He told Sky News: “I would never insult a Jewish person. I have got hundreds and hundreds of Jewish friends. “I’ve got loads of Chinese friends and I would never, ever insult the Chinese.”

In a BBC interview, he insisted he had been misquoted and did not intend any racial slur.

"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 said.

"I didn't think that I did anything wrong in that."

Jewish MP Ivan Lewis called on the FA to act against Mr Whelan.

He told the BBC: "What we discovered yesterday was that Dave Whelan shares Malky Mackay's abhorrent anti-Semitic and racist views. In my view, the FA has to now take the toughest possible action against Dave Whelan."

Mr Lewis, who represents the Bury South constituency, also urged the FA to "stop pussy-footing around " in its investigation into Mr Mackay.

David Gold, the co-chairman of West Ham United, said he had known Mr Whelan for several years and was "saddened" by his remarks.

Mr Gold, who is Jewish, said: "I'm struggling to accept it and there it is in black and white. It's undeniable.

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

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive