Players from Leicester City fly to the owner's Thai funeral

Players from Leicester City fly to the owner's Thai funeral

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media labelingEmotional Leicester team observes the silence in Cardiff

Players and officials of Leicester City are expected to fly to Thailand to attend the funeral of the club owner who died in a helicopter crash.

The funeral of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha began on Saturday in a temple in Bangkok with Buddhist bath rituals and is followed by recitation ceremonies.

The club beat Cardiff 1-0 in the first game since the death of Mr. Vichai.

Players came out of the tunnel to warm up and wear T-shirts with a picture of Mr. Vichai.

They stood still for a minute, along with the staff of Leicester City and the fans before kicking off.

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Reuters

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Flowers and a photo of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha were placed beside his urn in the temple in Bangkok

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Getty Images

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Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel wore his shirt during the warm-up

Mr. Vichai died with two co-workers, the pilot and a passenger, when the helicopter crashed shortly after leaving King Power Stadium on October 27.

His funeral started with a bathing ceremony where seven days of recitation ceremonies took place.

The ceremony took place behind closed doors and a special urn and a five-tier umbrella were used, reflecting its high status.

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EPA

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Aimon Srivaddhanaprabha (L), the wife of Mr. Vichai, during his funeral rite

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Reuters

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Mourners were shown through a glass door at Mr. Vichai's funeral

Deputy Thai Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, the manager of the Thai women's football team, and the president of the Thai Football Association were among the guests.

Mr. Vichai's body arrived in Thailand on Friday before the funeral.

At the crime scene

By Jonathan Head, BBC Southeast Asia Correspondent, Bangkok

The beginning of this long funeral contrasted starkly with the emotional scenes observed at Leicester City Stadium.

It began with a grand bathing ceremony for Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha's body in a royal temple in Bangkok, attended by his family and a number of high-profile political and business figures.

They poured holy water, donated by King Maha Vajiralongkorn, over flowers that adorned the casket, labeled with the initials VS and the simple words "the possible man," reflecting his business and sporting success.

This Buddhist funeral serves the deceased as an important religious function, with rituals such as monks chanting at night earning merit for him. However, it also serves a social function and affirms the status it has achieved, notably through the acquisition of royal sponsorships.

Mr. Vichai had a very different picture in Thailand than in the UK, a private and crafty entrepreneur who had strong connections to counter the challenges of his lucrative duty-free monopoly, which quickly made him very wealthy.

There is little public affection and gratitude so visible in the UK. But when the Leicester City team arrive for the funeral in Thailand, the Thais are reminded of how much this unlikely hero means to football fans on the other side of the world.

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AFP / Getty Images

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Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha bought Leicester City in 2010

Nusara Suknamai, Kaveporn Punpare, pilot Eric Swaffer and his partner, Izabela Roza Lechowicz, also died on Saturday.

The wreckage of the helicopter was removed from the stadium on Friday.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has begun investigating parts of the aircraft and the on-board recorder.

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King Power

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The Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, Prawit Wongsuwan, donated Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha's urn with royal water

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King Power

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Royal officials arrived with offers for the funeral ceremony of the Thai owner of Leicester City

All Premier League games this weekend will be preceded by a moment of silence or applause, and players will wear black armbands.

When the Leicester fans arrived at King Power Stadium before entering Cardiff, they received a complimentary breakfast from the club.

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Getty Images

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Foxes fans got a free breakfast at King Power Stadium

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