Leicester announce statue to honour Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

Leicester will erect a statue of late chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha outside the King Power Stadium following his death in a helicopter crash last month.

Srivaddhanaprabha and four others were killed in the tragedy on October 27.

His son Aiyawatt made the announcement less than 24 hours before Saturday’s Premier League game against Burnley – Leicester’s first home match since the disaster.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.
A statue will be a permanent tribute to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha (Nigel French/PA)

“We will never be able to repay what he did for us – for me as his son, us as his family, everyone connected to Leicester City and beyond – but we are committed to honouring his memory and upholding his legacy,” Khun Aiyawatt wrote in a souvenir programme for Saturday’s match.

“Our continued growth as a club, our state-of-the-art new training ground and our planned stadium expansion will help realise his vision for Leicester City.

“I plan to commission a statue of my father, for outside King Power Stadium, as a permanent and fitting tribute to the man that made it all possible.

“He will forever be in our hearts. He will never be forgotten.”

Leicester helicopter crash
Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha laid a wreath and said a prayer outside the stadium last week (Mike Egerton/PA)

Earlier on Friday, Leicester begun the difficult task of moving tributes to Srivaddhanaprabha at the King Power Stadium, with fans raising almost £20,000 for the club’s newly named foundation.

Tributes were left outside the ground following the crash on October 27 which cost the lives of five people in total.

Flowers, shirts and poems have been painstakingly moved by the club and volunteers from outside the North Stand ahead of Saturday’s Premier League visit of Burnley.

Leicester City Helicopter Crash Tribute Relocation
Volunteers relocate tributes at the King Power Stadium (Aaron Chown/PA)

They have been taken to a designated memorial area close to the accident site on the other side of the stadium.

Some will be kept for a pitchside display for Saturday’s match while others will be collected and preserved with the intention to incorporate them into the planned redevelopment and expansion of King Power Stadium.

Players and staff flew to Bangkok after Saturday’s 1-0 win at Cardiff to attend Srivaddhanaprabha’s funeral and returned on Tuesday.

Leicester City Helicopter Crash Tribute Relocation
A supporter takes a photo of shirt tributes, left for the victims of the helicopter crash (Aaron Chown/PA)

Boss Claude Puel admitted preparations for the Burnley game have been difficult after a 12,000-mile round trip but said it was important to pay their respects.

“It was a long journey but very important for us, for the players and staff to support Vichai’s family,” he said.

Fans will be given commemorative scarves, pin badges, clappers and programmes on Saturday while the players will wear shirts with Srivaddhanaprabha’s name embroidered on.

A special ‘Tribute to Khun Vichai’ video to be shown on the big screens inside the ground while thousands of fans plan to march from Jubilee Square in the city centre to the ground.

It comes after the newly named Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Foundation has raised £19,709 following an online auction.

The LCFC Foxes Foundation, which has raised almost £2million for local charities since its formation in 2011-12, has been renamed in honour of Srivaddhanaprabha.

Jamie Vardy’s boots, worn at Cardiff with ‘Khun Vichai’ embroidered on them, went for £9,008 while a pair of Kasper Schmeichel’s gloves fetched £4,000. The use of Vardy’s executive box for the Burnley game raised £6,700.

Two members of Srivaddhanaprabha’s staff – Kaveporn Punpare and Nusara Suknamai – pilot Eric Swaffer and his partner Izabela Roza Lechowicz were also killed in the crash.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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