Leicester confirm Premier League clash with Cardiff will go ahead
Club will play match a week after the tragic helicopter crash at King Power stadium
Bhuddhist monks stand in tribute after the Leicester’s owner Thai businessman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, and four other people died when their helicopter crashed as it left the King Power stadium after the match on Saturday. Photo: Eddie Keogh/Reuters
Leicester City have made the difficult decision to go ahead with their Premier League fixture at Cardiff on Saturday, following the death of their chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four others in the helicopter crash after the last league match at the King Power stadium.
A minute’s silence will be observed before kick-off at the Cardiff City stadium and the players will wear black armbands in honour of those who died when a private helicopter carrying Srivaddhanaprabha, two members of his staff and two flight crew came to earth in a fireball hours after Leicester’s match against West Ham.
The tragedy so close to the stadium – the helicopter had been booked to ferry the 60-year-old Thai billionaire to Luton airport – immediately saw supporters and mourners gathering at the scene, and with the King Power turning into a sea of scarves and floral tributes the decision was immediately taken to cancel Tuesday’s home Carabao Cup tie against Southampton.
That match will be rescheduled in due course, but though many at Leicester City remain in a state of shock and bewilderment it was felt that an away game at the weekend probably represents the best opportunity to begin to return to normality, even if emotions are still raw. Cardiff were also involved in conversations with Leicester and the Premier League over the best way to approach Saturday’s game, and the club’s executive director issued a message of support. “Following Saturday evening’s terrible events at the King Power stadium the thoughts and feelings of Leicester City are at the forefront of our minds,” Cardiff’s Ken Choo said. “We will be offering out support to Leicester in any way necessary in respect of this weekend’s fixture.”
Leicester’s City Hall and County Hall will light up in blue this week as part of ongoing tributes to Srivaddhanaprabha and the four other victims, Nusara Suknamaii, Kaveporn Punpare and pilots Eric Swaffer and Izabela Roza Lechowicz. The club have opened a marquee near the stadium where fans and people from the wider community in Leicester can add their names to a book of condolence. It will be open every day from 8am to 10pm “for the foreseeable future”, and anyone unable to visit the King Power can leave a message in an online tribute via the club’s website. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch is continuing with investigations as it tries to establish the cause of Saturday’s tragedy, when the helicopter came down after taking off from the pitch and only just managing to clear the roof of the Leicester stand. – Guardian service