A sex tape of a racially charged orgy in a Bangkok hotel was a public relations catastrophe for Thai-owned Leicester City, but it proved an unlikely turning point in their journey to the top of the English Premier League.
The offending video featured three young players including James Pearson, son of then-manager Nigel Pearson, engaging in explicit acts with a group of Thai women in a Bangkok hotel.
Filmed by the players, the footage of the sniggering men was soon revealed by the British tabloid press, shocking the public with the players’ crude remarks, including calling one of the Thai women a “slit-eye.”
While the sex tape caused outrage, it also ushered in a new era for Leicester as it paved the way for the arrival of manager Claudio Ranieri, who has taken the club to the brink of the Premier League title.
After the scandal in May last year, the players were promptly sacked and pressure mounted on Pearson — a manager who already had a bruising relationship with the British press.
At the start of July last year, Pearson also exited due to what the club simply described as “fundamental differences in perspective.”
Critics lined up to condemn the owners, billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and his son Aiyawatt, also known as “Top,” for a decision that came after Pearson had steered the team from the bottom of the table to 14th.
Former star striker Gary Lineker at the time said Person’s sacking showed that the Thai owners “clearly don’t know what they’re doing.”
However, a fortnight later the experienced Italian Ranieri arrived, to little fanfare, and quietly set to work on what would become a stunning season.
“The hotel incident brought the hero,” said Satit “Bigjah” Krikul, Thailand’s best known television soccer pundit, referring to Ranieri’s appointment. “Of course the incident damaged the reputation of the Leicester team and affected Thailand a bit... but it is Thai style that this kind of news blows over.”
The owners have stayed silent on the sex scandal and even Bangkok’s police, who had threatened to prosecute the women involved for indecency, now say they have no record of the incident.
Despite Thailand’s raunchy nightlife and reputation, sex is a taboo subject in what remains a largely conservative country.
When asked if the club would return for a triumphant Thai tour this year, Top replied with a terse, “No.”
The genial Ranieri immediately presented a calmer, kinder face to the public and brought a wealth of top-level soccer experience.
He inherited a team on a good run, bolstered the squad with some shrewd signings and embarked on the unlikeliest of title charges.
At the start of this season the Foxes were widely tipped for relegation, with British bookmakers offering 5,000-1 odds against a league victory.
One of Ranieri’s first tasks was to issue a heavy fine to striker Jamie Vardy, who was caught on camera calling an Asian man a “Jap” three times at a casino.
Vardy’s “mistake” was forgiven by Ranieri, and he went on to power this year’s title bid with 22 league goals.
‘CRIMINAL ACT’: The UCI said it ‘strongly condemns’ Dylan Groenewegen’s ‘dangerous behavior,’ which left Jakobsen in critical condition and injured other cyclists Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was in a coma on Wednesday, in “serious” condition, after he was thrown into and over a barrier at 80kph in the conclusion to the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne. Footage showed 23-year-old Jakobsen, of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step, racing elbow-to-elbow with fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen of Jumbo-Visma as both men frantically tussled in a tight sprint to the line in Katowice. However, Jakobsen came off worst, somersaulting over the barriers before colliding with a photographer after Groenewegen had veered suddenly to the right, squeezing his rival into the security wall. “His condition is very serious. His life is
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
STAYING COOL: Hamilton said that his ‘heart nearly stopped’ when he noticed the puncture, but he kept going to beat Alain Prost’s total of six home wins in France Lewis Hamilton said he feared he might not make it home when a last lap puncture almost derailed his charge to a record seventh British Grand Prix victory on Sunday. “I didn’t think I would make it round the last two corners,” the world champion said. The front left tire of his Mercedes had delaminated and deflated on his final lap, leaving the six-time world champion to nurse his vehicle to the finish as second-placed Max Verstappen hunted him down. “I just can’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “It was heart-stopping. I backed off and stayed chilled and was so glad it happened on