Wigan chairman Dave Whelan has been banned from football-related activities for six weeks over comments he made regarding Jewish and Chinese people, the Football Association has announced.
Whelan accepted an aggravated misconduct charge and the 78-year-old has also been fined €64,000, warned as to his future conduct and ordered to undertake a mandatory education programme.
The Wigan chairman has seven days in which to to appeal or accept the sanction, which would be suspended until after the outcome of any appeal or would begin immediately if he decides to accept the punishment.
The Wigan chairman made the remarks in a newspaper interview defending his decision to appoint Malky Mackay as the club's new manager. Mackay is the subject of an investigation into alleged racist and anti-Semitic texts sent while he was in charge of Cardiff.
Whelan told The Guardian it was ”nothing” to call a Chinese person a ”chink” and stated: ”Jewish people do chase money more than everybody else.”
Wigan issued a statement saying that according to the full findings of the case - which have yet to be made public by the FA — the commission was satisfied that Whelan “is not a racist”.
A statement from the club said: “Wigan Athletic can confirm the findings of an independent regulatory commission following statements made by chairman Dave Whelan in the Guardian newspaper on November 20.
“In summary, the FA commission concluded that: ‘We are satisfied on the evidence before us that Mr Whelan is not a racist. We are equally satisfied on the evidence before us that Mr Whelan did not intend to cause any offence by his comments. It is clear that he himself is very upset by the words he used and he moved very quickly to apologise publicly, plead guilty and begin to make amends’.”
Whelan had previously indicated he would resign if the FA even suggested he was guilty of using racist language.
The FA announced the findings of the case in a statement, saying: “Dave Whelan has been suspended from all football and football activity for six weeks, subject to any appeal, following an independent regulatory commission.
“The Wigan Athletic chairman, who accepted the charge of improper conduct, has also been fined €64,000, warned as to his future conduct and ordered to undertake a mandatory education programme.
“It was alleged Mr Whelan breached FA rule E3 in that comments made to the media were abusive and/or insulting and/or constituted improper conduct and/or brought the game into disrepute.
“It was further alleged that this was an ‘aggravated breach’ as defined by FA rule E3 as it included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or nationality and/or religion or belief.
“The independent regulatory commission will publish full written reasons within the next 24 hours. An appeal must be lodged within seven days from receipt of the written reasons.
“The sanction is suspended until after the outcome of any appeal, or the time for appealing expires, or should Mr Whelan decide not to appeal.”