Report: Wigan owner expected to step down due to racist comments
Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelan is expected to step down due to a series of racists comments made in the past two months, The Telegraph's John Percy reports.
Whelan was asked by The Guardian in a Nov. 20 interview about his hiring of Malky Mackay as Wigan's new manager. Racist, sexist and homophobic text messages and emails between Mackay and former Cardiff City executive Iain Moody were obtained by British police and released by The Daily Mail in August.
In one of the messages, Mackay called Vincent Tan, Cardiff's Malaysian owner, a "chink." In another, he targeted Jewish player agent Phil Smith, saying, "Nothing like a Jew that sees money slipping through his fingers."
Whelan defended Mackay in his interview with The Guardian.
"Do you think Jewish people chase money a little bit more than we do?" Whelan asked. "I think they are very shrewd people."
"I think Jewish people do chase money more than everybody else," he added. "I don’t think that’s offensive at all."
Whelan also saw no problem with Mackay's use of the word "chink."
"If any Englishman said he has never called a Chinaman a chink he is lying," Whelan said. "There is nothing bad about doing that. It is like calling the British Brits, or the Irish paddies."
Whelan later said he apologized if anyone felt offended by his comments. He said he would never insult a Jewish person or Chinese person, and that he has Jewish and Chinese friends.
On Nov. 27, England's Football Association announced formal charges against Whelan for his comments. A verdict is expected to be announced next week, according to the Telegraph, but Wigan expects Whelan will give up control of the club.
Wigan spent eight seasons in the Premier League, between 2005 and 2013, before being relegated to The Championship, England's second division. The club has won only three games this season and currently sits in second-to-last place in the league.
- Dan Gartland