Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger draws criticism for suicide joke after Chelsea draw

Exclusive: The Arsenal manager joked that he would have 'gone home and committed suicide' had Davide Zappacosta scored a last-minute winning goal for Chelsea

Luke Brown
Thursday 04 January 2018 20:15 GMT
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Arsene Wenger says he would have killed himself if Chelsea had scored a third goal

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Louise Thomas

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Arsene Wenger has drawn criticism for joking about about killing himself in his post-match press conference following Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea.

Héctor Bellerín scored an equalising goal for Arsenal late into the game, but Chelsea almost snatched all three points when Davide Zappacosta hit the crossbar in the dying seconds.

In his press conference after the draw, Wenger was asked by journalists what he would have done had Zappacosta scored to win the game for Chelsea. He replied: “I don't know, maybe I would have gone home and committed suicide tonight.”

Wenger came under fire on social media and was accused of using “misjudged and insensitive” language by several Twitter users.

Arsene Wenger needs to have a word with himself bringing up suicide like that,” Greg Johnson wrote. “He should know better.”

Michael McCarthy added: “This is disgraceful, insensitive language from Wenger.”

The mental health charity Mind meanwhile stressed the importance of using sensitive language around suicide and mental health problems.

“Every suicide is a tragedy and around 5,000 people took their own lives in England and Wales in 2016,” Alison Kerry, Head of Media at Mind, told The Independent.

“This is around 13 deaths by suicide every day, or approximately one every two hours. Many more people struggle day to day with their mental health and suicidal feelings or may have attempted to take their own life in the past.

“We need to be careful of the language that we use around suicide and mental health problems. Even if no harm is meant, flippantly referring to such serious issues is not just insensitive but it can damage people’s attitude and understanding.

“We would urge anyone who is experiencing the pain and distress of suicidal feelings to seek help as soon as you can. Try and speak to someone, such as a loved one, doctor or a charity such as Mind or Samaritans.”

Arsene Wenger has been criticised for his post-match comments
Arsene Wenger has been criticised for his post-match comments (Getty)

Suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK, while around 75% of all UK suicides are male.

The Football Association has meanwhile asked Wenger to provide observations about comments he made about Premier League refereeing both before and after the draw with Chelsea, the governing body announced on Thursday.

Wenger complained about two penalty decisions given against the Gunners, the first awarded to West Brom on Sunday and the second given to Chelsea on Wednesday.

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