Leicester City Players in Thailand to Pay Their Respects at Owner’s Funeral

BANGKOK — The members of England’s Leicester City soccer club paid their respects to the club’s late owner on Sunday at a Bangkok temple after arriving in Thailand for his funeral services.

The billionaire team owner of the English Premier League team, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, was killed when his helicopter crashed Oct. 27 in a parking lot outside the King Power stadium in Leicester, England.

His funeral began on Saturday, with other ceremonies scheduled through Friday. Attendees at the royally sponsored funeral included top government officials, business people and other public figures.

Leicester City players and manager Claude Puel arrived on Sunday after traveling to Bangkok following their match with Cardiff City the day before, their first game since Mr. Vichai’s death. Leicester won the emotional and highly charged game, 1-0.

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

The business world remembers him as the retail entrepreneur who grew Thailand’s huge King Power duty-free chain. The King Power empire is worth 3.8 billion pounds ($4.88 billion) today, according to Forbes, with Mr. Vichai having been the fifth-richest person in Thailand.

For the start of his funeral on Saturday, the grounds of the temple, Wat Thepsirin, were guarded by scores of security officers. White sheets were lowered to block outsiders and the news media from viewing the proceedings.

The chanting of monks, amplified by loud speakers, could be heard resonating around the temple’s grounds.

The crash left fans in mourning, with many making a pilgrimage to the club’s stadium to leave flowers and other mementos for the owner.

Mr. Vichai, 60, was among five people killed in the crash of the helicopter outside the stadium following Leicester City’s game against West Ham United.

The police released the names of the other four people who they believe also died in the helicopter crash: two members of Mr. Vichai’s staff, Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare; the pilot, Eric Swaffer; and another passenger, Izabela Roza Lechowicz.

No one else was believed to have been injured.

Air accident investigators in Leicester said this past week that flight data and voice recordings had been successfully downloaded from the helicopter’s “black box.”

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch said it had been able to obtain information from the black box even though it was subjected to “intense heat” in the fire.

Inspectors have started to analyze the data to determine what caused the aircraft to spiral out of control shortly after takeoff.

The wreckage was removed from the crash site late Thursday.

Leicester players have expressed their sense of deep loss, with striker Jamie Vardy writing on Instagram of Mr. Vichai: “To me you are legend, an incredible man who had the biggest heart, the soul of Leicester City Football Club. Thank you for everything you did for me, my family and our club. I will truly miss you … may you rest in peace …#theboss.”

Leicester and England defender Harry Maguire wrote on Twitter how Mr. Vichai had supported him at the club and at international levels during the World Cup, describing the Thai billionaire as “a truly great, kind, loving man who will be missed so much by everyone.”

At the team’s game against Cardiff City a minute’s silence was observed in memory of the crash victims.

Mr. Vardy and his teammates wore T-shirts bearing an image of Mr. Vichai and the words “The Boss” as they warmed up.

In Thailand, the team joined Sunday’s Buddhist prayers for Mr. Vichai and will do so again on Monday before traveling back to Britain, according to the BBC.

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