Dave Whelan: Wigan chairman at centre of new racism row after 'chingalings' admission

Whelan used the term to refer to his local Chinese restaurant in a fresh interview

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The Independent Online

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan could face fresh disciplinary action after he referred to his old local Chinese restaurant as "chingalings" in an interview with a Jewish newspaper.

The 78-year-old has been given until December 12 to respond to a Football Association misconduct charge over remarks he made about Jewish and Chinese people in a newspaper interview where he was trying to defend the appointment of Malky Mackay as the club's new manager.

Mackay is also the subject of an FA investigation into allegedly racist text messages he sent during his time at Cardiff. Both men deny being racist.

The Guardian had reported that Whelan said "Jewish people do chase money more than everybody else" and, when asked about Mackay's past indiscretions, replied by saying it was "nothing" to call a Chinese person a "chink".

On that last point, the Jewish Telegraph asked Whelan whether he himself had ever used the term "chink", to which he replied: "When I was growing up we used to call the Chinese 'chingalings'.

"We weren't being disrespected (sic). We used to say, 'we're going to eat in chingalings'.

"The Chinese weren't offended by that. That was the name everyone in Wigan called it (the first Chinese cafe in Wigan)."

Michael Wilkes, a spokesman for the British Chinese Project which gives the Chinese community a voice in the UK, responded to Whelan's latest comments by telling The Guardian: "Once again, Mr Whelan, rather distressingly, believes he can speak on behalf of Chinese people.

"His comments are extremely unhelpful in our fight to end discrimination and racism against Chinese people in the UK. Once more, he is using a public platform to tell a wide audience what Chinese people find offensive.

"Contrary to what Mr Whelan may believe, the vast majority of our community deem the terms 'chink' and 'chingaling' highly offensive. For many in the Chinese community these words hold deep emotional resonance, as they are often used in conjunction with racial violence, harassment and hate crimes.

"Therefore, to say that 'there is nothing wrong' with using such terms or that Chinese people 'aren't offended' by their use, demonstrates a dangerous level of ignorance."

In the interview with the Jewish Telegraph, Whelan talked about the high regard in which he held Jewish people and mentioned how "two Jewish boys" had shown him the ropes in market trading at the end of his playing career.

Wilkes added: "We have noticed that Mr Whelan has truly gone out of his way to apologise to the Jewish community, it is a shame that the same level of apology hasn't been extended to the Chinese community.

"We can assure him that we are just as angry and just as offended as the Jewish community, and call upon him to think of the implications of broadcasting his ill-conceived and ignorant views to a wide audience.

"We are pleased that the FA charged Mr Whelan last week and will be keeping a close eye on his response to the charge."

Whelan had initially been asked by the FA to respond to his misconduct charge on Friday, but that deadline has now been put back by a week to December 12.

Cardiff owner Vincent Tan, who sacked Mackay last December, branded Whelan a "racist" following his appointment of Whelan and subsequent controversial remarks, telling the BBC it was a case of a "racist chairman hiring a racist manager".

Whelan has said he would resign if the FA "even suggest I'm guilty" of making racist remarks.

The former Blackburn and Crewe player bought his hometown club in February 1995, overseeing an incredible rise from Division Three to win last year's FA Cup.

Wigan currently sit 23rd in the Championship standings and have yet to win since Mackay's appointment.

PA

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