Dave Whelan, owner of Championship club Wigan Athletic, has apologised after being accused of anti-Semitism and condoning racism for referring to Chinese as "chinks" and saying Jewish people "chase money".
He had been quoted by the Guardian newspaper on Thursday attempting to defend his hiring of former Cardiff City boss Malky Mackay who is under investigation by the FA for alleged offensive messages he sent while in charge of the Welsh club.
Whelan said one of the messages described Cardiff owner, Malaysian Vincent Tan, as a "chink" while in another Mackay made derogatory remarks about a Jewish football agent.
“If any Englishman said he has never called a Chinaman ‘a chink’ he is lying,” said Whelan. “There is nothing bad about doing that, it is like calling the British ‘Brits’ or the Irish ‘paddies’.
He added: “I think Jewish people do chase money more than everybody else. I don’t think that’s offensive at all, it’s telling the truth. Jewish people love money, English people love money, we all love money”.
Whelan told BBC Sport that he had been misquoted but apologised for any offence caused.
“I think he (the reporter) has misquoted me and if it’s causing offence to anybody, please accept my apology because I did not say that and I did not mean to insult any of my Jewish friends or any of the Jewish people,” Whelan said.
“I did not say that Jewish people chase money more than anybody else. I said that Jewish people do chase money, just like we the English chase money, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong in chasing money because we work for it.
“If those Jewish people are offended by what I said then I apologise immediately.”
Whelan’s original comments were condemned, with the Guardian quoting Chinese community leader Jenny Wong as saying that the Wigan owner was condoning racism.
Anti-discrimination group Kick It Out issued a statement questioning whether he was “a fit and proper person who should be running a professional football club”.
“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,” they said.
Former FA and Premier League executive Simon Johnson, who is chief executive at the Jewish Leadership Council, described Whelan’s comments as “disgraceful anti-Semitic language”.
One of Wigan’s sponsors, which has its logo on the back of their shirts, withdrew its support for the club on Thursday over this week’s appointment of Mackay.
'People use these words'
When asked about use of the word “c***k”, Whelan added: “There are all kinds of names given to people, given to the English, to the Scottish, to the Welsh, to the Irish, and the Chinese.
“People use these words a lot in common in various conversations — a lot of this talk goes on all around the world and people accept it and take because I don’t think that there is an insult meant.
“If somebody says to a Chinaman ‘you’re a c***k’, would he be upset about it? I don’t know really. If he was, I would say ‘I’m very sorry, I won’t call you that again’,” he added.