The Leicester City squad and manager Claude Puel have arrived in Thailand to pay their respects to the club’s owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who tragically died in a helicopter crash eight days ago.
Saturday was the first day of a week-long funeral for Srivaddhanaprabha, who was one of five people to die when his helicopter crashed in the car park outside Leicester’s King Power Stadium last weekend.
The Leicester players will be attending services on Sunday and Monday. They are expected to return to the United Kingdom on Tuesday morning.
Leicester striker Jamie Vardy was amongst the players to pay his respects to Srivaddhanaprabha at Bangkok Temple.
Harry Maguire, Shinji Okazaki and Christian Fuchs were also in attendance during an emotional occasion.
Leicester are paying their respects to Srivaddhanaprabha, who died eight days ago.
Srivaddhanaprabha’s funeral started in Bangkok on Saturday with Buddhist bathing rituals and will be followed by recitation ceremonies.
The squad flew 6,000 miles in 15 hours following their game against Cardiff.
After electing to postpone their midweek Carabao Cup tie against Southampton, Leicester returned to action on Saturday.
LEICESTER’S LATE CHAIRMAN VICHAI SRIVADDHANAPRABHA HELPED MASTERMIND THEIR WILDEST DREAMS… BUT TRAGEDY WILL ALWAYS PARTNER THE MIRACLE OF THAT PREMIER LEAGUE TITLE TRIUMPH
A picture of Vichai appeared on the big screens at either end of the Cardiff City Stadium. ‘A great son of Thailand, may you rest in peace,’ a message read beneath his image. On the hoardings around the ground, another message flashed up. ‘Together with Leicester,’ it said.
In the midst of the silence, Kasper Schmeichel, the Leicester goalkeeper, who was one of the first on the scene of the crash that killed Vichai, two of his assistants and two pilots at the King Power Stadium last Saturday night, wept openly. And anybody with a heart, anybody who loved football, felt the tears welling up inside them.
Tragedy is a part of Leicester’s history, too, now. Tragedy will always be the partner of the miracle of that Premier League title triumph of 2015-16. That was one of the greatest sports stories ever told but when the man who made it all possible died in the wreckage of his helicopter soon after the 1-1 draw with West Ham last weekend, all that joy was joined with pain.
Puel’s side secured a 1-0 win over Cardiff on in an emotional first game since the death of Srivaddhanaprabha, who they paid tributes to throughout the match.
Banners were shared between both sets of fans and Srivaddhanaprabha’s name was sung repeatedly.
Srivaddhanaprabha, who took over Leicester in 2010, received much praise for the way in which he ran the club and oversaw the Foxes’ remarkable Premier League title win in 2016.
The Leicester owner cleared the club’s debts and oversaw their promotion to the Premier League in 2014.
Leicester’s next game, and their first at home since Srivaddhanaprabha’s death, is against Burnley on Saturday.