Cardiff owner Vincent Tan has criticised Wigan chairman Dave Whelan and the club's new manager Malky Mackay, telling the BBC: "This is a racist chairman hiring a racist manager."
Malaysian businessman Tan reacted angrily to Whelan’s comments about Jewish and Chinese people in a newspaper interview where he was defending his decision to hire former Cardiff boss Mackay.
The English Football Association has also said its investigation into Whelan’s comments will be treated “as a priority”. It has written to the 77-year-old giving him three days to respond.
Whelan is facing the prospect of an FA charge after he responded to the controversy over Wigan’s appointment of Mackay by telling the Guardian: “I think Jewish people do chase money more than everybody else.”
Whelan also told the Guardian he did not view the word “chink” as offensive.
Whelan has apologised for any offence caused and denied being racist, but Tan said: “I think he insulted the dignity of all Jewish people. I think he insulted the dignity of Chinese.”
The FA said in a statement: “We are very concerned to read about the comments that have been attributed to Dave Whelan. We take all forms of discrimination seriously.
“As with all such cases, this will be dealt with as a priority. The investigation is already under way and the FA’s governance division have written to Mr Whelan. He has three working days to respond.”
Mackay, who has also denied being racist, is himself the subject of an FA investigation for sending allegedly racist text messages to Iain Moody, his former head of recruitment at Cardiff. He was sacked by the Welsh club earlier this year.
The main representative body of British Jews called Whelan’s comments “outrageous” and said that his apology is “half-hearted”.
The Wigan owner has since apologised for any offence caused but is facing a critical situation at the club after sponsors kitchen firm Premier Range and sports drink company iPro Sport announced they were severing ties with the club due to his appointment of Mackay.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews' vice-president Jonathan Arkush said in a statement: "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 OK.
“We need to see a proper apology and full recognition of the offence 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.”
Whelan had been asked his view of the word “chink” by the Guardian after Mackay had allegedly referred to Tan by that word in a text message.
Whelan also said that he had been told by senior figures that “nothing will come” of the FA’s investigation into Mackay.
That was met with a swift rebuttal from the governing body, while anti-discriminatory body Kick It Out, which had strongly condemned Mackay’s appointment by the Championship club, questioned Whelan’s position.
Whelan later apologised for causing offence.
He told Sky Sports News: “I would never, ever insult a Jewish person. I have got hundreds and hundreds of Jewish friends. I would never upset a Jewish person. I would never upset them because I hold them in the highest regard.
“If anyone takes offence to anything I have said, please accept my sincere apology. It’s either a misquote or on that day I must have done 50 interviews.”
He added: “The Chinese community – again, I’ve got loads of Chinese friends. I would never insult the Chinese. I know Malky Mackay insulted them and they take that name seriously. I understand their point of view completely. He apologised to them and I hope they accept that.
“I apologise on my behalf and on behalf of the club. We do not ever want to insult any nation or any person in the world.”