The president of the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) Somyot Poompanmoung has paid tribute to Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha who died in Saturday’s helicopter crash at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
The 60-year-old was one of five confirmed dead on Sunday evening. The helicopter went down just moments after taking off following Leicester’s 1-1 draw with West Ham United.
“He was my close friend,” Somyot said in an interview. “It is really sad and we have lost an important man who has done so much for football in Thailand. This is a sad day for Thai football.”
Vichai and his King Power company, who bought Leicester in 2010, were strong supporters of Somyot as he ran for president of FAT as a reform candidate in a bitter election campaign in February 2016.
Three months later, Thailand and Somyot celebrated as Leicester won an unlikely Premier League title.
“He was a very nice guy and very friendly,” Somyot added. “He was a person who always helped anyone who needed help. He never said no. He was very generous to everyone.”
Somyot, the former police chief of Thailand, said that he had spoken to the owner of the the Foxes just last week.
“We were talking about a number of projects to help Thai football,” he said. “We were planning to send staff from the federation to Leicester in January to help improve their standards in all parts of football from administration to medical to anything.
“We arranged to meet for dinner in Bangkok on Nov. 10 to discuss it further. This was just one of many plans we had. He gave many things to improve Thai football as well as Leicester.”