U.K. Soccer Club Owner Apologizes for 'Jews Chase Money' Remark

Dave Whelan says he would never 'upset any Jewish person'; Board of Deputies of British Jews rejects 'half-hearted' apology.

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Haaretz
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Dave Whelan
Dave WhelanCredit: Screenshot from YouTube
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Haaretz

A British soccer club owner who said that Jews "chase money" more than others has apologized for the anti-Semitic remark and other offensive comments he made during a recent interview.

After coming under criticism, Dave Whelan, the Wigan Athletic owner, told Sky Sports that he would never insult a Jewish person.

"I’ve got hundreds and hundreds of Jewish friends," Whelan said. "I would never, ever upset any Jewish person because I hold them in the highest regard," he said, adding that he apologizes if he offended anyone.

"It's either a misquote, or on that day I must have done 50 interviews. You can imagine how many times I’ve been on radio, television, etc., because of this case," Whelan went on to say, referring to his appointment of Malky Mackay as the club's manager, despite his being under investigation by the Football Association for alleged racism and anti-Semitism.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews rejected Whelan’s “half-hearted apology,” the Guardian reported Friday.

“Wigan chair Dave Whelan’s comments about Jews are outrageous and offensive, and bring the club and the game in to disrepute," said Jonathan Arkush, vice president of the board, according to the Guardian. "His half-hearted apology does not go far enough."

“You cannot insult a whole group of people, and then say, ‘I would never insult them,' and hope that’s okay," Arkush continued. "We need to see a proper apology and full recognition of the offense caused. Whelan, in his role as chair of a football club, has a responsibility to set the tone for both his players and supporters.

“Racism and anti-Semitism will prevail on and off the pitch if it’s acceptable and unchallenged in the boardroom. We will be taking up the matter with the Football Association and Kick It Out.”

Anti-racism organization Kick It Out previously denounced the remarks and questioned whether Whelan was fit to own a soccer club at all.

"He has brought into question whether he is a fit and proper person who should be running a professional football club," the group said in a statement.

"The remarks act as another example of the culture which continues to exist within football, and further proves that some in positions of power seem comfortable sharing those views either privately or publicly," it said. "These comments must not go unchallenged and have to be investigated by the [Football Association]."

In the original interview with the Guardian, in which he made the comments about Jews, Whelan also said it is “nothing” to call a Chinese person a "chink."

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