West Midlands Police have removed offensive banners aimed at Leicester’s late owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha placed on the motorway ahead of the Foxes’ clash with Coventry.
Several photos emerged on social media displaying messages which were put up on the M69, which Leicester fans will use to travel to the game, ahead of the Championship derby encounter on Saturday lunchtime.
Some banners showed images of helicopters alongside offensive messages to mock Srivaddhanaprabha, who died in a helicopter crash alongside four others shortly after taking off from the King Power Stadium in September 2018.
After West Midlands Police were notified of the offensive banners, they were taken down from the motorway and the force warned fans about the relevant legislation.
Coventry City FC Police, a force unit for West Midlands Police, posted on X: “I was hoping there wouldn’t be a need however I feel the minority, I stress minority need a timely reminder. There is legislation in place that covers tragedy chanting, including the displaying of offensive banners.”
Both clubs were quick to condemn the abuse and will work with the police to find out who created them and take action, including bans for anyone found to be involved.
Coventry issued a statement on X, formerly Twitter, which read: “Coventry City completely condemns incidents today which have seen banners being displayed containing offensive content directed at Leicester City Football Club.
“Coventry City will work with West Midlands Police to identify those who created and displayed these banners, and take appropriate action against them.
“Such behaviour has no place in football or society, and these people are not welcome at our Football Club and will be subject to bans.”
A Leicester spokesman said: “The football club notes with disappointment the disrespectful actions of a minority of opposition supporters, mocking the tragic events that deeply affected our club and community.
“Such behaviour stands in contrast to the values of respect and unity that football should embody.
“We are grateful to Coventry City Football Club and the wider football community who stand with us in condemning these actions and brought this incident to the attention of the relevant authorities. We will work with all parties to support the identification and appropriate response to those involved.”
It is not the first time that banners have been used to mock the rival fan base in the ‘M69 derby’ after some Leicester fans displayed banners on the same motorway following their 2-1 victory over Coventry in August.