Paris - France will deploy anti-drone technology to interfere with and
take control of any flying machines that violate no-fly zones over stadiums at
the European Championship, part of unprecedented measures to secure Europe's
biggest sports event since the Paris attacks in November.
security chief Ziad Khoury said Tuesday that no-fly zones will be declared over
all 10 stadiums as well as training grounds for the 24 teams at the June 10-July
"We've noted the general proliferation of drone-usage in
society," Khoury said in his Paris office. "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."
French authorities have trained for the possibility of drones
being used to disperse chemical weapons over crowds. 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
"When you prepare an event of this size, you must imagine
all scenarios, even the most unlikely," Khoury said.
He said authorities have no specific intelligence to indicate
that drones are a threat, but are preparing for all eventualities. The
anti-drone measures to be deployed by the French air force and police
"aren't necessarily infallible, because the technology is new and the
drone phenomenon is recent. Let's say it is a dissuasive measure that didn't
exist at previous sports events," he said.
"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,"
Expanded security perimeters around stadiums should keep any
drone pilots at a considerable distance, he said.
"So the risk for matches should be limited. For other
sites, it's a different matter," Khoury said.
"With drones, it could be curiosity. It could be fans. It
could be something more malicious," he said. "Nothing has been
identified in particular. It's simply that we are working on all hypotheses so
we could respond."