Naive to think all EPL clubs take Asian tours seriously
Leicester's orgy shows why Asian tours not taken seriously
Everything about the episode was disgusting.
The racist abuse suffered by the Thai woman, the recorded sex acts and the contempt shown for their host's culture; there were no excuses for their reprehensible behaviour.
The three Leicester City players filmed in an orgy in a Thai hotel room will undoubtedly get what's coming to them.
Defender James Pearson, the son of manager Nigel, striker Tom Hopper and goalkeeper Adam Smith recorded a video of their sex acts, which found its way to the media, and the Foxes must now deal with the PR fallout.
But the video reveals something else about the post-season EPL trips to Asia.
It's not about the performance on the pitch. It's about the party. And Asian supporters would be naive to think otherwise.
Indeed, Leicester's antics in Thailand were nothing out of the ordinary.
From Paul Gascoigne's dentist chair routine in Hong Kong in 1996 to the infamous Manchester United private party in Singapore in 2001, this side of Asia has often been viewed as a hedonistic haven for the partying footballer.
At that United party in 2001, David Beckham allegedly met a Malaysian-born model and allegedly had an affair with her, a curious episode that has been almost airbrushed out of history.
In 1995, Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour was arrested following a scrap with a Hong Kong taxi-driver and spent the night in a jail cell.
Four years later, the story goes that Chelsea players ended up brawling in a Hong Kong club after one of them allegedly groped the girlfriend of a triad boss.
Taken at face value, these incidents, among others, should really concern only the players, their partners and their respective definitions of fidelity.
They are young men on vacation after an intense year spent beneath the unremitting glare of the Premier League spotlight.
The trouble is, they're not. They're taking Asia for a ride.
Leicester are currently touring Thailand at the behest of their Thai billionaire owners. The PR mission is part of a partnership with the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
The "Amazing Thailand" branding is on the back of Leicester's shirts. The Foxes are supposed to be selling Thailand, not sleeping with their women in orgies.
They're also promoting Leicester City to gullible Thais. It's Operation Sell Shirts, the latest patronising attempt to persuade Asians to open hearts and wallets and flock to the cause.
But Asians are no longer so susceptible to the corporate con job.
Last week, Tottenham played out a tedious exhibition against a Malaysian XI in front of a lacklustre Shah Alam crowd that barely filled half the stadium.
In Australia, over-active spin doctors foamed at the mouth as they announced on Twitter the arrival of the world's greatest football talents from Chelsea. Apparently, they're still giggling inside the Nou Camp.
The days of an EPL side turning up for a Mickey Mouse Asian friendly still hung over from a night of debauchery are coming to an end.
Visiting teams could just about get away with a plodding performance in the past. In 2001, Gerard Houllier told me that he examined the pockmarked pitch of the old Kallang Stadium and ordered his Liverpool players to treat the occasion as a glorified training session.
They duly obliged.
But Asian audiences are more discerning and less tolerant of such substandard fare now. Dissecting games from every conceivable angle on flat-screen TVs every week makes it easier to spot passengers, rather than performers.
Hard-earned Asian salaries should not subsidise jolly-ups for partying stars.
Leicester's appalling incident confirms a nagging suspicion that Asian audiences are still viewed, at some level, as benign cash cows; no more than a submissive ATM machine.
And there's an interesting, if contentious, distinction to be made here between those nauseating Foxes and Sepp Blatter.
The Fifa president's winning ticket has always been the perceived greed of Uefa and the English Premier League.
He claims to stand for the developing nations of Asia and Africa against Europe, where the rich clubs have got richer by exploiting local markets and killing domestic leagues in countries like Thailand and Singapore.
Blatter likes to come to South-east Asia bearing gifts; a football pitch here, a new training facility there and so on.
But English clubs turn up demanding gifts like warped, sporting Vikings, expecting wine, women and sacks of cash.
It's a perception Blatter will successfully exploit as long as European clubs continue to view this part of the world as potential booty.
At this time of year, EPL teams have many reasons to visit Asia.
But don't kid yourself that football is one of them.
Orgy shame footballers facing the heat
Three shamed Leicester City players who allegedly filmed themselves in an orgy in which a Thai woman was racially abused issued a public apology after flying back home yesterday.
But the calls for their sacking intensified.
The Premier League club said they were "deeply concerned" and have launched an investigation after the emergence of footage apparently showing three squad members in a sex session in which a woman is called a "slit eye".
Defender James Pearson, 22 - the son of the club's manager Nigel - striker Tom Hopper, 21, and goalkeeper Adam Smith, 22, all appear naked in the video, obtained by the Sunday Mirror.
In a statement the club, owned by Thai billionaires, said the players "would like to convey their sincere apologies for their behaviour - to the women involved in the incident, to the club and its owners, to the club's fans and to their families".
But fans and members of the Thai community have called for the trio to be sacked, and the players will be questioned by the Midlands club.
Piara Powar, the executive director of Football Against Racism in Europe, accused the stars of being "privileged young men" who were "exerting their power" over women and "demeaning them sexually and racially abusing them".
He added: "The fact that they are Premier League footballers, and one of them is the manager's son, means that there is a responsibility to behave, like it or not.
"I hear Nigel Pearson takes a strong stance against discrimination. It's a shame he hasn't passed the message on to his players and even more of a shame his son doesn't get it."
The video appears to show the three men naked in a hotel room laughing and egging each other on while they make racist and crude remarks as Thai women engage in sex acts.
One of the players also appears to call one of the women "minging - an absolute one out of 10" as his friends laugh.
The shocking video was reportedly filmed while players were touring the country celebrating staying up in the top flight.
It is alleged the trio shared the explicit video with friends back in the UK.
Fans told of their disgust on the fans forum FoxesTalk and called for the players to have their contracts torn up because of the "inexcusable behaviour".
The scandal is a huge embarrassment for the club. Leicester City are owned by Thai billionaires, father and son Vichai and Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, who have pumped millions into the club and building their fan-base in the Far East.
Manager Pearson is a patron of the charity Show Racism the Red Card, which uses the high profile football enjoys to campaign against racism.
- PA Sport.
There is no point in pretending that videos like this aren’t made and shared all the time, but the arrogance of doing it while on a goodwill trip to the country of your owners, the people paying your salaries, is mind blowing.
- Piara Powar, executive director of Football Against Racism in Europe