British soccer boss suspended for saying Jews chase money

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — The English Football Association banned the owner of a British soccer club from all soccer-related activities for six weeks over anti-Semitic and racist slurs.

Dave Whelan, who owns the Wigan Athletic Football Club near Manchester, was also fined $78,000 and ordered to participate in an educational program run by the Football Association in the decision announced on Wednesday. He has seven days to appeal the penalty, though the Football Association said in a statement that Whelan accepted the punishment.

In November, Whelan, 78,  told the British newspaper The Guardian that “Jewish people chase money more than everybody else.” He also used the term “Chink” to describe a foreign businessman.

He was defending his decision to name Malky Mackay as the club’s manager despite a British Football Association inquiry into Mackay for alleged racism  and anti-Semitism in email and text exchanges.

Whelan apologized in an interview with the BBC a day after his remarks were published.

The Football Association’s Independent Regulatory Commission acknowledged that: “Mr. Whelan  is not  a  racist as can be seen from his business life as well as his private life including his support of charities.”

He donated nearly $8,000 to the Brookvale organization for the Mentally Handicapped, a Jewish organization which helps with care for the mentally handicapped.