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Leicester City players arrive in Thailand for club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s funeral

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Dozens of players, executives and managers from Leicester City have arrived in Thailand to pay their respects to club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who was killed in a helicopter crash last week.

Some of the team’s top footballers – including Harry Maguire, Kasper Schmeichel and Jamie Vardy – left the UK for Bangkok shortly after beating Cardiff 1-0 on Saturday.

Mr Srivaddhanaprabha and four others died when the billionaire businessman’s aircraft crashed as it left the King Power Stadium following Leicester City’s 1-1 draw with West Ham on 27 October.

The 60-year-old’s funeral is taking place at a Buddhist temple in Bangkok, and members of Thailand’s elite are among those paying tribute to the entrepreneur.

An official ceremony to mark Mr Srivaddhanaprabha’s passing will last until 9 November.

The eight-sided golden urn that is taking centre stage at the funeral of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha
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The eight-sided golden urn that is taking centre stage at Mr Srivaddhanaprabha’s funeral

Other players who have made the 13-hour flight to mourn the well-respected club owner are Jon Rudkin, Claude Puel, Wes Morgan, Wilfred Ndidi, Christian Fuchs, James Maddison, Marc Albrighton, Ben Chilwell, Shinji Okazaki and Andy King.

In total, 40 representatives of Leicester City have gone to Thailand.

Many thought of Mr Srivaddhanaprabha as a father figure after he oversaw the club’s remarkable 2015-16 Premier League title campaign.

Others who died when the helicopter came down in a car park were two of his staff members, Nusara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, pilot Eric Swaffer and his partner Izabela Roza Lechowicz.

Players ahead of the game wore t-shirts with the owner's picture
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Leicester City players wore T-shirts commemorating the club’s owner before yesterday’s match

Mr Srivaddhanaprabha rose from having a single store in Bangkok to owning the duty-free King Power empire, whose shops are widespread at Thailand’s airports.

His funeral ceremony began on Saturday with a Buddhist bathing rite using water given by the Thai king.

The honour is traditionally granted at funerals of high-ranking state officials or citizens who had devoted their lives to the good of the country.

The body will be kept for a further 100 days.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has begun examining wreckage recovered from the crash site and the in-flight recorder.

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