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Latics' Whelan accused of anti-semitism

Wigan owner Dave Whelan has been accused of anti-Semitism as the controversy over the the club's appointment of Malkay Mackay as manager deepens.

Mackay, named new Latics boss on Wednesday, is the subject of an ongoing English Football Association investigation into racist, sexist and homophobic text messages sent during his time as Cardiff manager.

Whelan (below) has now claimed there was little offensive in some of Mackay's texts, most notably those referring to Jews and Chinese people.

The development comes soon after one of Wigan's shirt sponsors, kitchen firm Premier Range, announced it was severing its ties with the club following Mackay's appointment.

Whelan made his comments in an interview with a British newspaper in which he defended his decision to appoint Mackay.

Whelan has said "he would never entertain racism of any description" but has expressed belief Mackay's errors were "one slight mistake".

Whelan was not condemnatory when asked about some of the specific texts, including one in which referred to Jewish football agent Phil Smith with the words, "Nothing like a Jew that sees money slipping through his fingers."

Whelan reportedly said of that: "I think Jewish people do chase money more than everybody else. I don't think that's offensive at all."

In response, Simon Johnson, a former FA and Premier League executive, who is now the chief executive at the Jewish Leadership Council, told the newspaper: "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 anti-Semitism and stereotyping of Jewish people.

"Mackay used offensive language to insult a fellow participant in football using a tawdry racial stereotype."

In another text message, Mackay referred to Cardiff's Malaysian owner Vincent Tan as a "c***k."

Asked about that, Whelan said: "If any Englishman said he has never called a Chinaman a c***k he is lying. There is nothing bad about doing that. It is like calling the British Brits, or the Irish paddies."


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