Football: Garlands and crowds greet Foxes in Thailand

BANGKOK (AFP) - Thai fans mobbed newly crowned English Premier League champions Leicester City as they arrived on Wednesday for a publicity blitz after their fairytale title triumph.

They also hoped to banish the memory of a sex tape scandal that marred a visit a year ago to the homeland of their billionaire owner.

Scores of fans - dubbed the "Siamese Foxes" - and a frenzied local media pack swarmed the champions at Bangkok's main airport on Wednesday morning, greeting them with requests for selfies and chants of "Leicester City, Leicester City!"

Manager Claudio Ranieri, captain Wes Morgan, goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and forward Shinji Okazaki led the team, beaming as they made a choreographed Thai bow - or "wai" - with garlands of jasmine around their necks.

But star players Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy and Danny Drinkwater were not among the Wednesday morning arrivals, with the two English players called up this week for international duty.

Football-mad Thailand has fallen for Leicester after the astonishing success story of a club with deep links to the kingdom.

The Foxes are owned by Thai billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

His duty-free King Power brand is emblazoned across the shirts of the team, whose home ground in the English Midlands is named the King Power Stadium.