The Thai billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha left an indelible mark on Leicester thanks to his investments and his generosity
"Light of progressive glory", that was the meaning of the surname Srivaddhanaprabha, affectionately known in Leicester as Vichai, the Thai who scored a milestone due to English football and his acts of generosity in the United Kingdom. Coincidence or not, he became the 'King Midas', because everything he touched turned to gold.
Leer en español: Este es el legado económico de Khun Vichai en el Leicester City
At age 60 and after a tragic death, after the helicopter that moved him from the King Power Stadium with his assistants Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, the helicopter pilot Eric Swaffer, and the passenger Izabela Roza Lechowicz, the Thai billionaire accumulated a fortune that reached 3,500 million dollars, according to Forbes magazine.
A fortune that is born in Thailand
It all started in his native country after buying a stake in King Power, duty-free that was based in Hong Kong at the time. After a legal battle, he took over the firm and it began very quickly, so much so it gave him the opportunity to expand his business with a 39 percent stake in Thai AirAsia and a part of the Accor's Pullman hotel company in Thailand.
Vichai, whose real surname was Raksriaksorn but who changed to Srivaddhanaprabha in 2006 thanks to his closeness to the Thai monarchy, little by little was adding zeros to his fortune. In 2010, he decided to extend his field of action. On this occasion, Vichai invested in football, after disbursing a sum of 43 million euros to buy Leicester City.
Your investment in football pays off
Exploring the deep and sometimes turbulent world of football, Vichai became a shock to the club and also to the city. The team began to receive a large financial sum that led him to win the 2016 Premier League and in eight years go to be worth 430 million euros, paddling against the current in betting, as it was 5000 to 1 in their aspirations to stay with the English League.
A transformer of the city
The people of Leicester not only remember him for the title, but also for the legacy of generosity he left in his short stay in the city. English media fans say that Vichai once offered free beer, donuts and hot dogs to fans of the team to celebrate his birthday. Likewise, it subsidized trips with a limit of 10 pounds for each fan who wanted to accompany the group out of the city.
The support of the Thai billionaire went beyond the Leicester City, since once he donated 1.5 million dollars to the Royal Hospital of the city, as well as another 130 million dollars for the construction of a new training camp for the club.
"He put the city on the map of the world, put millions of pounds in the club and a lot of money in hospitals and childcare centers, and at Christmas he offered free cakes and drinks", said Cliff Ginetta, president of the Leicester fan club, in statements delivered to the BBC.
Vichai was made for business and in Belgium he also owned the football club of the second division Oud-Heverlee Leuven. He had acquired, in 2017, this team and without a doubt he was planning to forge a future similar to that of the 'Foxes', but fate played a trick on him and it will be his son Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha who is in charge of carrying the flags of success.
LatinAmerican Post | Jorge Hernández
Translated from “Este es el legado económico de Khun Vichai en el Leicester City”
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