Organizers have implemented anti-drone technology around French stadiums that are hosting matches for Euro 2016, making it the first major sporting event to feature it.
No-fly zones have been declared over all 10 stadiums, and any drone that violates this will be interfered with or taken over. Measures will also be taken to protect the training areas for participating teams.
Euro 2016 security chief Ziad Khoury explained to the Associated Press that French authorities had been trained for a scenario in which drones could be used to disperse chemical weapons. “When you prepare an event of this size, you must imagine all scenarios, even the most unlikely,” he said.
While drones have not yet posed a direct security threat to any of the Euro matches, organizers have been on high alert since the November terrorist attacks in Paris. Khoury was sure to specify that the technology they are using is still very new, and has not yet been proven to be completely reliable.
There are a variety of anti-drone technologies, and Khoury did not give any specifics on the type that is being used for the tournament. Some of the current models on the market direct radio signals towards a nearby drone to interrupt or control the frequencies of a drone. Others are actually able to infect the drone with malware, damaging its systems and causing it to stop flying.
Khoury also acknowledged that not all drones are going to be malicious. Fans might be trying to fly a drone over a stadium simply to get a closer look at a game (which is also not allowed.) “The idea is not to destroy the drones, because there could be collateral damage, notably if they crashed into the public. It is to prevent them from flying over the stadiums and perhaps to arrest their pilots,” Khoury said.
Matches will take place up until July 10 in France for Euro 2016.