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Growing calls for Thai owners to address Leicester sex video

03 June 2015, 13:31

Bangkok — It remains unclear how the "racist orgy" video was leaked. But it's safe to say the scandal surrounding Leicester City was not the game plan when its Thai owners and sponsors invited the club to tour Thailand.

Four days after the video lit up social media, the English Premier League club's owners in Thailand had yet to comment on it, despite mounting pressure to publicly reprimand their players' behavior.

The video featuring players Tom Hopper, Adam Smith and James Pearson shows the trio unclothed and engaging in an apparent orgy with Thai sex workers in a hotel room. One of them is heard laughingly using a racial slur to describe one of the women, among other remarks unfit for publication.

The video was first obtained by British newspaper The Sunday Mirror, one of many publications to call it a "racist orgy." It triggered a quick response from the club itself; Leicester City issued a statement Sunday to say the three players were being sent home ahead of the rest of the squad and that an investigation was being launched into the incident. It said the players "would like to convey their sincere apologies for their behavior" and the club would treat their conduct "extremely seriously."

The club was touring Thailand after securing its status in the Premier League a week earlier.

It was too soon to say whether the video would alienate Thai fans, but it was widely perceived as an insult to Thailand from the sport the country cares about most.

Leicester is owned by Thai billionaires Vichai and Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha. The father-and-son tycoons own Thailand's duty-free empire King Power, whose company name is emblazoned on the front of Leicester's team jerseys.

One of the team's main sponsors is the Tourism Authority of Thailand, whose slogan "Amazing Thailand" is prominently displayed throughout the club's stadium, which is called King Power Stadium.

The Bangkok Post devoted its Wednesday editorial to the issue, saying the owners "have a special duty to fans of the team and all Thais, to explain and deal with the behavior of their employees." It urged the Tourism Authority to "seriously consider its connection with the team."

A call made Wednesday to King Power was directed to an operator who said the company's executives were traveling overseas and not available for comment. Tourism Authority of Thailand spokeswoman Sarima Chindamat said Wednesday that "if there is any comment I will call you back."

- AP

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