How Does a Drone Spark a Brawl at an International Soccer Game?
In October, an international soccer game between countries Serbia and Albania was stopped due to a massive brawl that involved players on both sides, along with fans who were glad to join the melee. After a 30-minute timeout, the referees decided to cancel the game which had been tied at 0-0.
The cause of the melee? A drone was flown over the stadium with pro-Albanian political symbols. This caused the two teams to break into a riot due to the long-running tensions between them over the country of Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia in 2008. Since then the two countries have been feuding and have had a huge rivalry between them, on and off the soccer field.
Sometime during the first part of the game, an unknown person flew the drone over the field carrying an Albanian map and pro-Albanian symbols. One of the players on the Serbian side grabbed at the flag and pulled it down, causing a scuffle between the players on the field. This in turn caused the remaining players to join in with the fight.
Fans also started to take part, invading the field and attempting to attack the Serbian players. Riot police had to be called in to control the melee as both teams were then escorted off the field.
Drones are not yet allowed over U.S. sporting events because they fall under the rules of the Federal Aviation Administration. However, stories like this show the importance of these type of high-tech yet manageable tools when it comes to open air, public events.
While many today use drones for publicity stunts such as this one, the future of drones for sports and other events is endless. Cameras mounted on their backs can catch angles that other cameras cannot, and police can also use them for crowd control. A drone flying over a large crowd can act as their own eye in the sky and allow them to respond to where the need is greatest. These possibilities will hopefully improve the experience of these events and help avoid riots like this one.