Britain

Who is Thai billionaire who owns Leicester City?

It is a ritual known to anyone who attends Leicester City's home games – the owner's helicopter taking off from the pitch an hour or two after the final whistle.

Such extravagance is easily forgivable when you have helped give the fans their most memorable days as supporters.

Thai billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was owner and chairman of Leicester when, against odds of 5,000-1, they clinched the 2015-16 Premier League title.

Image: Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha pictured with his helicopter in 2016
Leicester City soccer club's team owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha takes part in a parade to celebrate club's English Premier League title in Bangkok, Thailand May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha  Picture Supplied by Action Images
Image: Srivaddhanaprabha takes part in a parade to celebrate the club's Premier League title in Bangkok

The warmth of the fans had already been won by then, however: free beers and hot dogs all round on his birthdays will do that. Not for him the cynicism or disdain directed towards many a foreign owner of a British football club.

It is not yet clear whether Srivaddhanaprabha was on-board when the helicopter crashed at around 8.30pm on Saturday – and everyone connected to the club, as illustrated by tweets from current and former players, will be praying that somehow this tragedy passed with minimal loss of life.

Srivaddhanaprabha's journey to super riches began humbly: he opened a duty free shop back in Bangkok in 1989.

Today he is worth £3.8bn, according to Forbes, making him the fifth richest person in Thailand.

He bought Leicester for a reported £39m in 2010 and named his son Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha as his vice-chairman.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Leicester City v West Ham United - King Power Stadium, Leicester, Britain - October 27, 2018 General view of the wreckage of the helicopter belonging to Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha that crashed outside the King Power Stadium REUTERS/Andrew Yates EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, ga
Image: The crash happened around 8.30pm on Saturday
leicester helicopter on fire

Leicester is now worth £371m, according to Forbes.

Keen football fan Srivaddhanaprabha also owns Belgian football club OH Leuven.

Football Soccer - Leicester City v Southampton - Barclays Premier League - The King Power Stadium - 3/4/16 Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha reacts as he walks to his helicopter which has landed on the pitch after the game Reuters / Darren Staples Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/pl

He is married to Aimon Srivaddhanaprabha.

The couple have four children together – Voramas, Apichet, Arunroong, and Aiyawatt.

More from UK

In 2012 the family was bestowed the new family surname of Srivaddhanaprabha by the King of Thailand.

The name means "light of progressive glory".

Original Article