Anti-drone technology to be used over stadiums during Euro 2016
Published 17/05/2016 | 15:11
France will deploy anti-drone technology over stadiums during the Euro 2016 championships, the tournament's security chief has said.
Ziad Khoury said the technology will interfere with and take control of any flying machines that violate no-fly zones over all 10 stadiums and training grounds for the 24 teams at next month's football tournament.
He said it will be deployed at most of the 51 matches and will "interfere with drones and take control of them if they are spotted".
French authorities have reportedly trained for the possibility of drones being used to disperse chemical or biological weapons over crowds.
Mr Khoury described the technology as a "dissuasive measure that didn't exist at previous sports events".
He said: "We've noted the general proliferation of drone-usage in society. So no-fly zones will be defined over every training ground and every stadium, and in most stadiums and for most matches anti-drone measures - which are quite innovative - will be deployed, working with the state, which will interfere with drones and take control of them if they are spotted."
A training exercise in April in Saint-Etienne, one of the 10 Euro 2016 cities, imagined that a drone carrying chemical agents had plunged into spectators at the Geoffroy Guichard Stadium, which will host three group matches in June and one game in the knock-out round.
"When you prepare an event of this size, you must imagine all scenarios, even the most unlikely," Mr Khoury said.
He said authorities have no specific intelligence to indicate that drones are a threat, but are preparing for all eventualities.
Mr Khoury added that the measures, which are to be deployed by the French air force and police, are not infallible because the technology is new.
"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," he said.
Mr Khoury said expanded security perimeters around stadiums would reduce risk at matches by keeping drone pilots at a considerable distance. But he said it is a different matter for other sites.
"With drones, it could be curiosity. It could be fans. It could be something more malicious," Mr Khoury said. "Nothing has been identified in particular. It's simply that we are working on all hypotheses so we could respond."