DAVE Whelan was has been handed a £50,000 fine, a six-week ban from football-related activities and ordered to undertake a programme of education provided by the Football Association.
But following a lengthy investigation, the FA confirmed they were ‘satisfied’ that the Latics chairman ‘is not a racist’.
Whelan, 78, was charged following comments made in the Guardian newspaper on November 20.
The interview caused immediate uproar in the Jewish and Chinese communities, although Whelan himself was quick to apologise and insist he had meant no offence.
And the FA’s ruling reflected the mitigating circumstances.
“We are satisfied on the evidence before us that Mr Whelan is not a racist,” the FA Commission concluded.
“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.”
However, the commission explained that it had a duty to ‘view the comments objectively and Mr Whelan’s subjective intentions were irrelevant as far the ruling was concerned’, hence the punishment announced.
Whelan admitted the charge of breaching FA Rule E3 relating to abusive and/or insulting and/or improper conduct and/or bringing the game into disrepute, plus a further breach of FA Rule E3, relating to a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or nationality and/or religion or belief.
He also submitted a detailed report explaining the circumstances in which the interview took place, as mitigation.
It’s not thought Whelan’s ban from football-related activities will affect the club’s plans to bring in and offload players during the January transfer window.