Leicester’s owners fully committed to King Power Stadium project

Leicester City chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha has maintained the English Premier League football club’s owners are “100% committed” to the King Power Stadium development project, adding he is expecting “positive news” from local authorities soon.

Srivaddhanaprabha chose yesterday’s (Thursday’s) programme notes for the Premier League match against Manchester United to address several questions fans have been asking of the club in recent weeks.

Leicester’s lack of activity in the summer transfer window, when compared to its Premier League rivals, has led to concerns over how the difficult global economic climate is affecting the club’s owners, Thai travel retail group King Power International.

King Power has also faced challenges in progressing its plans for the stadium and surrounding area. Leicester confirmed in October that it had submitted its hybrid planning application to Leicester City Council. Details of the project were first revealed in July 2021, with the plans including a proposal to expand King Power Stadium’s capacity from 32,000 to 40,000 and introduce a mixed-use development that will feature a new arena.

The City Council had targeted a decision date for early February, but that passed by, as did further target dates in April and July. However, Leicester City Council last month confirmed a committee meeting date of September 14, when the project is expected to be given the green light.

“When we first announced our intention to expand King Power Stadium and develop the surrounding site – a project central to our long-term growth – we would have anticipated such work being well underway by this stage,” said Srivaddhanaprabha.

“We are 100 per cent committed to the project and indeed hope to have positive news from the local authorities relative to planning permission imminently, but the project’s delay has unquestionably been among the many consequences of the unprecedented global events of recent years.”

In January, approval was given to two other proposals put forward by Leicester. This granted the club the ability to commence preliminary works on site, which has yet to start.

The wider project also includes the construction of a new club megastore, 220-room hotel, club and commercial office space, a residential tower, and a new multi-storey car park. King Power has long spoken about its ambitions to enhance the team’s facilities and expand the stadium, which first opened in 2002.

Regarding the club’s financial situation, Srivaddhanaprabha said: “It’s been a challenging period for the club, in which demonstrating our commitment to long-term sustainability has become a necessary priority.

“First and foremost, Leicester City’s overall financial position is entirely secure and underpinned by my ongoing personal commitment and that of my family. The club is as safe in our hands as it has been every day for the last 12 years. It’s our commitment to that responsibility that drives every decision we make. Sometimes, that commitment means making difficult, short-term decisions that protect the club’s long-term interests, such as our approach to this summer’s transfer window.”

He added: “Building the club to a level where we are less reliant on player trading takes good management; strategic, sustainable investment; success on the pitch; and time. The visible growth of our commercial revenue streams demonstrates that we are moving in the right direction, but the impact of the pandemic has been undeniable.”

Image: Leicester City