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Thai group buys Leicester City

12 August 2010 17:02

(AFP) - A consortium led by Thai businessman Aiyawatt Raksriaksorn has bought Leicester City, the English Championship club announced on Thursday.

Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed but current chairman Milan Mandaric will retain his position at second-tier Midlands club Leicester and is a stakeholder in the Asia Football Investments consortium.

Raksriaksorn owns Thailand-based duty-free shopping business King Power Group, which last week secured a three-year shirt sponsorship deal with Leicester.

The last Thai venture into English football ended controversially when former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, ousted in a 2006 coup and still living in exile, bought Manchester City and sold the club a year later.

Aiyawatt, in a statement, said: "We are delighted that Asia Football Investments has secured this exciting deal.

"I am passionate about football and I see in Leicester City a club with tremendous passion and potential.

"It has excellent management on and off the pitch and I am convinced that it has the right mix of ambition and realism to drive the team, and club, forward.

"I do look forward to getting behind the new manager (Paulo Sousa) and his team and to enjoying real progress, which I know the fans crave and deserve."

Mandaric believes the new deal will help bolster the Foxes' bid for a return to the Premier League.

"The deal brings new strength and energy to Leicester and offers a tremendous opportunity for supporters and the club," Mandaric said in a statement on the club's official website, www.lcfc.co.uk.

"We are celebrating today as the deal represents three things.

"First, ambition. This will help us push forward to compete harder for a place at the top table of English football.

"Second, strength. It will strengthen the squad and youth academy by bringing additional financial support and introducing a new global network of contacts and access to player talent," the former Portsmouth owner added.

"It also represents a third key factor - partnership. I am delighted to remain as chairman and a stakeholder in the new consortia.

"I am pleased Lee Hoos, the chief executive, and his winning team remain focused and in place to keep our plans and ethos alive."

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