Brentford vs Wolves: Drone stops play
Play at a Premier League match was suspended for a significant amount of time at the weekend, when a drone materialised out of nowhere to spook everyone in the stadium.
Referee Peter Bankes – who was officiating the English premiership match between Brentford and Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Brentford Community Stadium last Saturday afternoon – was forced to stop play just after 33 minutes, after he noticed an object hovering around the centre circle.
Apparently, the unidentified flying object was a drone, which the police and league officials say had no right to be in that airspace at the time.
For one thing, the drone posed a danger to other traffic in the area, as it was flying in a high-risk flight zone close to Heathrow Airport’s flight path.
Apparently with a brazen pilot at the controls somewhere, the drone did not immediately go away, forcing the match official to call players back to the dressing rooms while the police and security at the stadium dealt with the issue.
Premier League rules state any unauthorised drone that appears in and above a stadium during a game must see the players leave the pitch for their own safety.
The corridors of power at the league are understandably concerned that the drone could pose a security threat; but they are also notoriously antsy about the image rights of their products, and this could ne one of the reasons why play was stopped as the drone – which looked like a Mavic Mini 2 model.
Released in 2020, the Mavic Mini 2 drone is a great tool for aerial image and video recording, capable of shooting 4K 30fps video and 12- and 48-megapixel images. Its battery can last for 30 minutes.
“Now there’s more drama at the Brentford Community Stadium as the referee takes the players off the pitch because somebody is flying a drone overhead,” screamed an update from The Guardian newspaper’s live stream on the day.”
You gotta be kidding.
“The drone continues to fly over the Brentford Community Stadium, where the players have been taken off the field. Located just six miles from Heathrow Airport, it’s a bit of a security risk and now a helicopter has been summoned to … do something or other? They’re hardly going to blast it out of the sky, are they?”
No, they were not. But only because…
“The drone has buggered off and the players are back out at the Brentford Community Stadium.”
The match was only resumed after 19 minutes.
Metropolitan Police have told UK media that they were looking into the incident, and nobody has been questioned in relation to the incident yet.
“They tried to understand what happened, tried to find the person who controlled the drone then we came inside and talked a little bit about the game,” said Wolves boss Bruno Lage, who left London happy after a 2-1 win and also described it as one of his strangest experiences in England.
“Sometimes we don’t have that time during the game to chat and we talked a little bit.”
Drone owners have been previously prosecuted for trying to capture the live premier league action with, Nigel Wilson fined £1,800 in 2015 for flying a drone over a Premier League stadium.
He became the first person to be prosecuted for the use of unauthorised drones above Premier League stadiums.
“Breaking the dronecode and failing to fly responsibly could result in criminal prosecution, including imprisonment,” said a spokesperson for the UK Civil Aviation Authority.
“Anyone operating a drone must do so responsibly and observe all relevant rules and regulations. The rules for flying drones are designed to keep everybody safe.”