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Whelan steps down as Wigan chairman

03 March 2015, 15:19

London - Dave Whelan has stepped down as chairman of English second-tier club Wigan Athletic and will be succeeded by his 23-year-old grandson David Sharpe, he announced on Tuesday.

"The time has now come to hand over the reins," Whelan said in a statement on the club website.

"I am approaching 80 years old and spend an increasingly long time abroad, and cannot make it to games. It is a decision I have been mulling over for some years and I believe David is now ready."

Whelan, 78, bought the club 20 years ago and will continue in his role as owner.

A former player with Blackburn Rovers and Crewe Alexandra, Whelan made his fortune in sports retail as owner of the JJB Sports chain of shops.

Also read: Wigan chairman accused of anti-Semitism

His finest achievement as Wigan chairman was the club's shock win over Manchester City in the 2013 FA Cup final, although the club were relegated from the Premier League later that season.

Whelan made the headlines earlier this season after being banned and fined by the Football Association for making derogatory remarks about Chinese and Jewish people in a newspaper interview.

He was quoted by The Guardian newspaper as saying it was "nothing" to call a Chinese person a "chink" and claiming: "Jewish people do chase money more than everybody else."

Whelan was defending the club's appointment of manager Malky Mackay -- who was accused of sending discriminatory text messages to a colleague during his time at Cardiff City -- but said he had been misquoted.

Whelan was banned from all football-related activity for six weeks in late December and fined 50,000 ($76,800, 68,800 euros), but the FA's disciplinary commission said it was satisfied that Whelan was "not a racist".

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