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Wigan owner Dave Whelan caught up in Malkay Mackay text row

By Andy Hampton

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 Football Association investigation into racist, sexist and homophobic text messages sent during his time as Cardiff manager.

Whelan 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 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 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, said: "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."

Whelan went on to defend an offensive Mackay text referring to Chinese people.

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