An English football club owner is facing a backlash from community leaders and sponsors after making controversial comments about Jewish and Chinese people in a newspaper interview.

Wigan owner Dave Whelan made the remarks to The Guardian newspaper while defending his decision to hire Malky Mackay as the club's manager, even though Mackay is under investigation for sending racist and anti-Semitic text messages.

Commenting on a text by Mackay about Jewish people and money, Whelan said: "I think Jewish people do chase money more than everybody else. I don't think that's offensive at all."

Whelan has apologized but a leading Jewish group says the comments "bring the club and the game into disrepute."

Two of Wigan's sponsors have ended their contracts. The English Football Association is looking into the matter.