Family of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and Leicester football players gather to pay tribute to club owner.


PLAYERS HAVE ARRIVED at Leicester City Football Club to pay tribute to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the club’s owner who died in a helicopter crash outside the King Power Stadium on Saturday. The club owner’s helicopter burst into flames in the football stadium car park moments after taking off from the club’s pitch. Four other people were killed in the crash. Since news broke, family and fans have gathered to pay tribute, lay flowers, football scarves and shirts outside the ground.
Vichai, a Thai billionaire, bought Leicester City in 2010 for £39 million and was instrumental in leading the club to the Premier League title in 2016. Police have named the four other victims of Saturday’s crash as Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, two members of Vichai’s staff, pilot Eric Swaffer and passenger Izabela Roza Lechowicz. A book of condolence will be opened at King Power Stadium from Tuesday. The team has postponed its Premier League fixture against Southampton that evening.
Vichai (60) was the owner of Thailand’s King Power duty-free empire and was a regular at Leicester City matches. Eyewitnesses to Saturday’s crash said the helicopter appeared to develop a mechanical problem in its rear propeller shortly after takeoff. Images shortly after showed orange balls of flame engulfing the wreckage in the car park at King Power Stadium. England legend Gary Lineker, a former Leicester player who was hosting the BBC’s Match of the Day when the accident happened, tweeted: “That was the most difficult @BBCMOTD I’ve ever hosted… A terrible tragedy. Heartbreaking.”
Under Vichai’s ownership, Leicester crafted one of the biggest fairy tales in English football history by winning the 2015/16 Premier League, having started the season as 5,000-1 outsiders for the title.