Arsenal stars including Mesut Ozil at centre of ‘hippy crack’ storm – Daily Mail
Mesut Ozil and a group of Arsenal stars face a grilling from manager Unai Emery today after being caught in a ‘hippy crack’ controversy.
A video released by The Sun on Thursday night shows Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Matteo Guendouzi using balloons apparently to inhale nitrous oxide — a legal high that can cause potentially dangerous side-effects — at a party in London a few days before the start of the season in August.
On what seems to be CCTV footage Ozil appears to fall semi-conscious after inhaling from a balloon, while Guendouzi appears to lose consciousness altogether during what is claimed to be a private party at the exclusive Tape Club in London’s West End. Aubameyang can be seen sucking from a balloon and laughing.
Arsenal are at the centre of the latest hippy crack controversy to hit English football. (L to R): Shkodran Mustafi, Sead Kolasinac, Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all pictured at the Tape Club.
Matteo Guendouzi, 19, (pictured) appears to lose consciousness after inhaling from a balloon
Ozil appears to offer a balloon to midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 29, who declines to take it and instead sucks on a lollipop.
According to The Sun, Ozil ‘looked out of it at one point’ and that ‘he took a big draw on a balloon then seemed to lose his consciousness and slide down in his seat’. Guendouzi is said to have been ‘even worse’.
German defender Shkodran Mustafi was also seen in the footage but was not filmed having any nitrous oxide, while defender Sead Kolasinac, 25, is another among those on camera.
Arsenal have today confirmed they will discuss the matter internally, with Emery set to be involved in the meetings.
The club are then expected to hold talks with the players before deciding whether further disciplinary measures are required.
A club spokesman said: ‘The players will be spoken to about this and reminded of their responsibilities as representatives of the club.’
Arsenal lost the first two games of the Premier League campaign to ‘Big Six’ rivals Manchester City and Chelsea.
Other Premier League players have found themselves the subject of such allegations in the past, with Raheem Sterling, Saido Berahino and Jack Grealish among them.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (left) and Alexandre Lacazette (right) also appear in the video
Germany star Mesut Ozil was among the players seen in the footage, released on Thursday
Young midfielder Guendouzi only moved to the Premier League club during the summer
And while the risks from using what is also known as laughing gas from small canisters is generally considered to be low, football clubs are usually unhappy when their players are associated with images such as those published in The Sun on Thursday.
The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs has said the drug ‘has the potential to cause harm to users, including death’, with nitrous oxide responsible for 17 fatalities between 2006 and 2012.
Defensive pair Shkodran Mustafi (L) and Sead Kolasinac (R) were also among those in the video
Ozil appears to offer a balloon to midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 29, who declines to take it
The aforementioned Arsenal stars were allegedly inhaling nitrous oxide inside Tape Club
HOW WILL HARDLINE BOSS EMERY REACT?
Arsenal manager Unai Emery is so strict with his players that he has even banned them from drinking fruit juice, so it remains to be seen how dimly he reacts to the news that his players have been taking nitrous oxide.
After replacing long-time boss Arsene Wenger in the summer, Emery revealed his canteen crackdown was part of a move to get his players far fitter. He has also set up a marquee at the club’s training ground where players can do extra cardio work while they train.
Emery said: ‘I like fruit a lot and I like fruit juice. But with a lot of sugar? Not very good.
‘When I was young, my father came every day with a fresh orange fruit juice.
‘I like it in my life. When I arrived here, I asked only for that from the cook. And the players, I think, are the same. They prefer their orange fresh.’
He is also starting to crack the whip on the pitch too, with Mesut Ozil, the team’s star playmaker on £300,000 per week, dropped recently for the trip to Bournemouth because he was deemed not hard-working enough for such a fixture.
Arsenal were unavailable for comment on Thursday night but they have made a point in the past of reminding players of their responsibilities as professionals representing their club.
The wild party — to which 70 women were reportedly invited — took place just before the start of the season in August, in the VIP section of the Members Room in the basement of the Tape Club, in Hanover Square, Mayfair.
A dozen players in all are reported to have attended, although there is no evidence any of the others used nitrous oxide.
The footballers are said to have racked up a bill of up to £30,000. Drinks included £2,000 bottles of Dom Perignon champagne, a magnum of £2,000 Ciroc vodka and £2,500 Hennessy VS.
Players were also reported to have left the party at around 4am, some with girls.
Although possession of laughing gas is not illegal, English law prohibits its sale to Under 18s if there is a chance they will inhale it.
Users risk falling unconscious or even dying from lack of oxygen. This happens when the available oxygen for breathing is effectively pushed out by the nitrous oxide.
What is Nitrous Oxide and is it illegal?
Nitrous Oxide, has been nicknamed ‘laughing gas’ due to the euphoric and relaxed feeling people who inhale it can sometimes feel.
The substance – also known as ‘hippy crack’ – is normally bought in pressured canisters, commonly transferred to a container, e.g. a balloon, from which the gas is inhaled.
Although possession of laughing gas is not illegal, English law prohibits its sale to under-18s if there is a chance they will inhale it.
Nitrous Oxide canisters and cigarette butts litter a roadside in Camden Town on February 11
The effects of nitrous oxide vary depending on how much has been inhaled but they include:
• Feelings of euphoria, relaxation and calmness.
• Dizziness, difficulty in thinking straight and fits of giggles/laughter.
• Sound distortions or even hallucinations.
• In some people, a headache can be an unwanted immediate effect.
• Unconsciousness or death from lack of oxygen. This occurs when the available oxygen for breathing is effectively pushed out by the nitrous oxide.