June 18, 2015 – Leicester have sacked Tom Hopper, Adam Smith and James Pearson for their part in a sexually-explicit video during which racist language was used.
After an internal investigation, owners Vichai and Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha who are from Thailand, have terminated the trio’s contracts.
A club statement read: “Leicester City Football Club has notified Tom Hopper, Adam Smith and James Pearson that their contracts with the club have been terminated.
“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 club will make no further comment on the investigation, its finding or outcomes.”
The decision was welcomed by Lord Ouseley, chair of anti-racism campaigners Kick It Out.
“We note and welcome the statement issued by Leicester City FC this evening regarding the action taken by the club following the professional misconduct of three of their players during a post-season tour of Thailand,” he wrote in a statement.
“Leicester have set the right tone to allow football to assert itself in setting and maintaining the correct standards of conduct to enhance the game’s image here and abroad as a source for good.
“For too long, decision makers at the top of the game have been reluctant to make responsible and authoritative decisions, as employers, to deal effectively and decisively with incidents of serious misconduct and unprofessional behaviour, as well as applying appropriate sanctions.
“It is therefore refreshing to see such positive action being taken in 2015 which we hope will set the decision-making pattern for the future.”
Leicester reacted swiftly when the video surfaced via the Sunday Mirror, sending the players home from the trip and opening proceedings against them.
A statement on behalf of Hopper, Smith and Pearson was also released offering “sincere apologies to the women involved in the incident, to the club and its owners, to the club’s fans and to their families”.
Nigel Pearson, who is a patron of anti-racism charity Show Racism the Red Card, is unlikely to miss the three on a footballing level.
None have played for the Foxes in the league, while last season they were loaned out in the lower leagues, Pearson at Wrexham, Smith at Mansfield and Hopper at Scunthorpe.