In Depth

Leicester sack three players after 'racist orgy' in Thailand

Young footballers, including the son of manager Nigel Pearson, pay price for their actions during 'goodwill tour'

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As career moves go, what Leicester City footballers Tom Hopper, Adam Smith and James Pearson (above) got up to on their club's post-season tour of Thailand last month will rank as among the worst in footballing history. And on Wednesday they paid the price for appearing in what the Daily Mirror called "a vile orgy", when the club terminated their contracts.

Announcing the decision on their official website, Leicester said: "The decision follows the conclusion of an internal investigation and disciplinary proceedings, as a consequence of events that took place during the Club's end-of-season goodwill tour of Thailand.

"Leicester City Football Club is acutely aware of its position, and that of its players, as a representative of the city of Leicester, the Premier League, the Football Association and the club's supporters. It is committed to promoting a positive message of community and family values and equality, and to upholding the standards expected of a club with its history, tradition and aspirations."

The trio of Foxes, all young players still looking to establish themselves in the first team, were part of what was described as a "goodwill tour" of Thailand at the end of last month. It was also seen as a reward for the squad after a late rally saw them avoid relegation to the Championship.

Thailand was the natural choice as the club is owned by Thai businessmen Vichai and Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha and has sponsorship deals with several Thai organisations.

They were no doubt expecting the squad to impress on and off the field. But instead Hopper, Smith and Pearson filmed themselves having sex with and racially abusing three women in their hotel room.

According to the paper the three can be seen "laughing as they verbally abused three Thai girls, while they committed sex acts with them in a Bangkok hotel room".

In one clip Hopper films them having group sex on his mobile phone and the women are then encouraged to indulge in "lesbian sex acts". As the men shout their approval, the Mirror also reveals one player was heard calling one of the women a "slit-eye".

Despite the sordid nature of the footage, the players couldn't resist sharing it with friends back in the UK, and eventually it was leaked to the press.

To make things even worse for Leicester, James Pearson is the son of the club's controversial manager, Nigel Pearson, which only adds to the embarrassment.

Clearly wishing to draw a line under the unsavoury episode the club concluded its statement by saying they "will make no further comment on the investigation, its finding or outcomes".

But as the Bangkok Post noted, Leicester will have to embark on a serious round of PR to re-establish their credentials in Thailand. One of their main sponsors is the Tourism Authority of Thailand, while opposition fans next seasons are sure to think up a chant over the summer that honours the logo on the back of the Foxes shirts - "Amazing Thailand".

'Vile' Leicester players shamed in Thailand after 'racist orgy'

1 June

Three Leicester players have been sent home from a tour of Thailand and could be sacked by the club after they were filmed taking part in an orgy and racially abusing one of the women involved.

Footage of defender James Pearson, son of Leicester manager Nigel, striker Tom Hopper and goalkeeper Adam Smith was published by the Sunday Mirror.

It shows the thre men engaged in sex acts with three local woman. In the clip one of the woman is called a "slit eye" and another is branded "minging".

The paper brands the players' behaviour "vile" and says: "The footage heaps shame on a club which has tried to take a strong stance against racism."

It is also hugely embarrassing as Leicester is owned by Thai businessmen Vichai and Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha and the team flew to the Far East to "promote goodwill in the homeland of its proud Thai billionaire owners".

The film threatens "to damage the club's reputation in the region as well as a 'strategic, international partnership' with the Tourism Authority of Thailand," says the Daily Mail.

Leicester City said it was "deeply concerned" about the footage and said the players wanted to "convey their sincere apologies for their behaviour – to the women involved in the incident, to the club and its owners, to the fans and to their families".

The Daily Telegraph notes that the incident is doubly embarrassing for Leicester manager Nigel Pearson, who was embroiled in several run-ins with players, supporters and journalists last season, as his son is invovled. Not only that but Pearson "has campaigned against racism and is a patron of the charity Show Racism the Red Card", notes the paper.

There have already been calls for the three youth-team players involved to be sacked by the club, which narrowly escaped relegation from the Premier League last season after a run of seven in their final nine games.

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