Leicester City Football Club awarded honorary Freedom of the City

By Jayden Whitworth

Symbolic: Leicester City Football Club awarded Freedom of City of Leicester

Leicester city councillors unanimously voted for Leicester City Football Club (LCFC) to be granted Freedom of the City of Leicester.

The award, made at a council meeting last Wednesday (FEB 23) is the highest civic honour that the council can award and an outstanding contribution to the city of Leicester.

The award recognises that the club both raised the reputation of Leicester through its outstanding sporting achievements and appreciation of its commitment to improving the local community, with programmes to help asylum seekers and support grassroots football.

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Sir Peter Soulsby, Leicester City Mayor, said: “The Honorary Freedom of the City is the highest award our city can give, and it is entirely fitting that it be given to LCFC for the honour and distinction it has brought to our city.

“Sporting achievements and trophies aside, the club has shown a continued commitment to sports development within our local communities, and it is an inspiration to its fans and to the people of Leicester.”

On Wednesday, councillors also voted in favour of introducing a new civic award – The City of Leicester Award.

The first recipients of the award are current LCFC chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaphrabha and his late father, Vichai Srivaadhanaprabha, who died in a tragic helicopter accident, after a match in October 2018.

The reward again recognises an individual’s exceptional impact on the city and acknowledges they have been a source of inspiration for the city.

Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, Leicester City chairman, said: “It gives me and my family incredible pride to accept these wonderful honours.

“The city of Leicester has given so much to us and we remain determined to place ourselves at the heart of this fantastic community by giving back all we can to the people who have made us feel at home from the moment we arrived.”

The award is purely a symbolic title and no longer holds any civil privileges.

In previous years, people given freedom of the city were able to avoid parking tolls and charges, or they were able to drive their sheep through the city, but in modern times this does not apply.

The award was first introduced in 1892 and has since been given to famous names including Gary Lineker, David Attenborough, and Alan Birchenall.