Obituary Announcement - Khun Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha
It is with the greatest sadness that we report the passing of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.
Both the sporting and the commercial world are a poorer place after the tragic death of Khun Vichai in a helicopter accident at Leicester City Football Club on Saturday night 27th October 2018. His commercial acumen as the Founder and Chairman of the extremely successful KingPower Duty-Free conglomerate at all the airports in Thailand allowed him to indulge his passion for international sport both in the polo and football world with remarkable success. Three times winner of the coveted British Open, the Gold Cup at Cowdray Park in 2015, 2016 & 2017 as well as the Queens Cup/Gold Cup double in 2015, Vichai was also a keen polo player himself, as were his two sons Aiyawatt (Top) and Apichet (Tip) who played in the King Power High Goal teams. He also founded the VR Polo Club in Bangkok and was credited as one of those who brought polo back to Thailand.
Khun Vichai's remarkable success over just the last decade in two such diverse sports as polo and football is a tribute to his passion, vision and entrepreneurial flair which, combined with a slightly shy and reserved demeanour, endeared him to so many in the world of sport. He was always happy to help young players in their pursuit of improvement or generously lend his grounds and facilities to support a good cause. In 2008 he was made President of Ham Polo Club in London for four years as a tribute for all he had done for the sport and in 2012 the late King of Thailand, H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej, at the time the world's longest reigning Monarch, honoured the family by granting a change of name from Raksriaksorn to Srivaddhanaprabha in recognition of his well-known charity work and his outstanding success in business. In 2016 he was honoured by the world governing body of polo by being made an Ambassador of the Federation of International Polo for his contribution to the development of the sport.
However, it was his remarkable success at Leicester City Football Club that became the stuff that dreams are made of' and eclipsed even his passion for polo. Having purchased the ailing club, then appointed his son Aiyawatt as Vice-Chairman, many expected it to be yet another `overseas owner' with a view to making a profit from the re-sale. This was not to be the case at Leicester City, Khun Vichai brought what he called "Thai values and Thai culture" to the Club and made staff, players and fans part of an extended family, setting about investing in the Club, clearing its debts and even introducing Buddist monks to bless the grounds and players before important matches. Leicester City's fairy-tale victory in 2016 winning the coveted Premier League against all odds (at 5,000 to 1) can be directly attributed to his flair for man-management and his methods in bringing staff, players and fans together to achieve the impossible. Few Club Chairmen or Owners are held in such high esteem by the fans and players alike as can be attested to by the outpouring of grief at his tragic passing and a remarkable tribute to all that he had achieved.