UNDER FIRE: Whelan, left, and Ouseley (PA)
ANTI-RACISM GROUP Kick It Out (KIO) chairman Lord Herman Ouseley has reached out to under-fire Wigan owner with an offer of help after it emerged he made offensive comments about Jewish and Chinese people during an interview.
The 77-year-old chairman of the Championship club is currently under investigation by the Football Association for discriminatory remarks when he was defending his appointment of new Wigan manager Malky Mackay, who is also subject of a FA inquiry into alleged racist, homophobic and sexist text messages and emails.
Whelan has since apologised for the remarks and said he would resign as chairman of Wigan if the FA found him guilty. In an interview with the Guardian, the club owner reportedly said: “Jewish people chase money more than everybody else”. He is also understood to have claimed that the word “ch**k” is not offensive.
Ouseley condemned the comments and said that Whelan being of an older generation is no excuse for the views he expressed.
The KIO chief told BBC Sport: “You cannot castigate Dave Whelan because of his age.
“We must recognise as a diverse society that we have people of all backgrounds, ages and characteristics.
“Age is no excuse. But people say things that are of a different age.
“The problem is that we have to help people come to terms with modern expectations we have of the way people should conduct themselves.”
Ouseley added: “As he [Whelan] was making the appointment, we had Kick It Out staff training and working with their young footballers because we are looking to the future to make sure the next generation of players and supporters will be better than the present in dealing with attitudes.”
Whelan has been widely criticised within the game, with some pundits arguing that he should step down, while Cardiff owner Vincent Tan, of Malaysian Chinese heritage, slammed both Whelan and Mackay as “racist”.
Tan fired Mackay as Bluebirds manager under acrimonious circumstances in December 2013.
In an earlier statement last week, KIO questioned whether Whelan was a fit and proper person to be owner of Wigan. The group said: “He has brought into question whether he is 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.”