Leicester City owner's Buddhist funeral starts in Thailand with royal honour

Ruben Hill
November 3, 2018

Ministers, celebrities and magnates packed a temple in inner Bangkok on Saturday (Nov 3) as funeral rites began for Thai tycoon Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who died in a helicopter crash in Leicester City on Oct 27.

In the wake of the tragic death of their beloved owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four others last Saturday in a helicopter accident, a Leicester side still in mourning will take the field in Premier League action against Cardiff.

Saturday was the first day of a week-long funeral ceremony for Vichai who was killed, along with four others, when his helicopter came down in a vehicle park outside Leicester City stadium last Saturday, just moments after the game had finished.

The funeral began with Buddhist bathing rituals and will later be followed by recitation ceremonies, where monks say prayers from religious texts.

The funeral, closed to the public and media, was attended by Vichai's relatives, friends and senior Thai politicians and soccer officials.

For Saturday's ceremony, reigning King Maha Vajiralongkorn also granted a ceremonial tiered umbrella and an octagonal urn. "The world of football lost a true pioneer and a visionary seven days ago", Tan wrote.

Outside the temple on Saturday, Kiatisuk "Zico" Senamuang, a former Thai national soccer player and coach who was also at the Leicester match, told reporters that global soccer world had lost an important patron.

Hundreds of mourners, royal soldiers and monks have gathered at a Bangkok temple for the funeral of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the Thai owner of Leicester City football club who died in a helicopter crash last week.

The Thai billionaire oversaw one of the greatest underdog successes in sports when his 5,000-1 outsiders won the English Premier League title in 2016.

Leicester City players including coach Claude Puel are due to fly out to Thailand after their match against Cardiff at 3pm today.

Vichai died along with two members of his staff, the pilot and a passenger when the helicopter came down in a vehicle park moments after taking off on October 27.

He was born Vichai Raksriaksorn, but in 2012, the king of Thailand recognized his achievements by bestowing on his family their new surname, which means "light of progressive glory". "We are one big family and one of the main reasons for that is Vichai", he said.

King Power now controls more than 90 percent of Thailand's duty-free market, being a sole operator with concessions in all major airports in the country until 2020.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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