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FIFA and UEFA offer sympathy over Leicester tragedy

SoccerNews in English Championship 29 Oct 2018

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The heads of FIFA and UEFA have lent their voices to the ongoing tributes for Leicester City owner and chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

The 60-year-old Thai billionaire died along with the four other people on board his helicopter, which crashed outside the King Power Stadium on Saturday around an hour after Leicester’s 1-1 Premier League draw against West Ham.

In a tweet from the FIFA Media account, attributed to Gianni Infantino, the president of football’s world governing body said: “FIFA extends its deepest sympathies to the families and friends [of the victims] and to the many football fans for whom Vichai was an integral member of the Foxes family.”

FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura added: “Our sympathies to all affected by this tragic accident. Vichai’s kindness, passion for football, Leicester and its people touched [the] hearts of many.

“Our thoughts are also with families of four others who lost their lives in the helicopter crash.”

Srivaddhanaprabha will be best remembered as the man who financed Leicester’s astonishing 2015-16 Premier League title win, when Claudio Ranieri’s 5,000-1 outsiders outlasted the likes of Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United over the course of the campaign.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin singled out the “unforgettable joy” of that against-the-odds triumph.

“UEFA and European football is deeply saddened to hear of the tragic deaths of the owner of Leicester City, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, and the other four people who lost their lives,” Ceferin said in a statement.

“During his time as owner of the club, Leicester City won the English Premier League title in 2016, and reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League the following year.

“This was a fantastic achievement, because it underlined the fact that football is an unpredictable game, capable of producing the most unexpected surprises. Everyone involved with Leicester City, especially the club’s fans, shared unforgettable joy at the team’s remarkable feat.”

Leicester’s EFL Cup tie against Southampton, which was scheduled for Tuesday, has been postponed.

They are due back in Premier League action this weekend at Cardiff City, whose owner Vincent Tan counted Srivaddhanaprabha as a friend.

“It is hard to find words at this time to express how deeply shocked and saddened I am by Saturday’s tragedy,” Tan said in a statement released by Cardiff.

“My thoughts, prayers and condolences are with the family of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and the families of all those who lost their lives. 

“Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was a man I knew personally: an honest and caring man of virtue and integrity. I considered him a friend and somebody for whom I had the utmost respect and admiration.

“Such tragedies put the game of football into perspective. But it is our common bond that will now unite the football family in a time of such grief and adversity. 

“We will all stand in support alongside our brothers and sisters in Leicester.”

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