Anti-drone technology to be deployed at Euro 2016 stadiums

18 May 2016

Those looking to fly drones in Paris, Bordeaux, Lille and other French cities hosting Euro 2016 games should probably think again, as organisers have confirmed they will deploy anti-drone technology at stadiums.

In the months that have preceded the Euro 2016 football tournament, the security of stadiums has been seen as paramount, after the news of the failed bomb attempt of the Parc des Princes stadium back in November of last year, and even last weekend’s false alarm at Old Trafford, Manchester.

Now, speaking with AP, UEFA’s chief of security for Euro 2016, Ziad Khoury, has said there will be strict security at stadiums, including the deployment of anti-drone technology.

With 10 cities to host all of the games of the tournament, no-fly zones will be designated around each of the cities’ stadiums, as well as around the designated training grounds of the 24 teams taking part.

This fear of drones potentially causing disruption – or something far worse –stems from the French security forces, which has seen an increase in the number of incursions by drones on sensitive sites, such as nuclear power plants and military installations.

Drones that spray chemicals

In a bid to combat this, the French gendarmerie is now equipped with equipment capable of steering drones away from these sites, but the French government has begun investing considerable amounts of money into more advanced anti-drone technology.

Security training has already begun for Euro 2016, with French security forces already staging an exercise in which a hostile drone sprays chemicals over spectators at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard stadium in Saint-Étienne.

This type of scenario is not based on any particular intelligence gathered on a potential threat, and Khoury said that this effort is more of a ‘dissuasive measure’ rather than any foolproof protection.

However, he is adamant that drones will not be destroyed in the air, as it could cause further damage.

“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.

Drone over football stadium image via Ververidis Vasilis/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic