A done spotted flying over training sessions for the World Cup 2014 France Team put a sour note on the start of events, when it was captured on camera by Nico Paillard. Infosport+ tweeted the image which had the Blues seeing red.
France team manager Didier Deschamps immediately called for an investigation. As the tweet above indicates (in French), the security service for the games did investigate the incident.
At the heart of the fuss was what might be classified as a little bit of paranoia; with Deschamps claiming the drone might have been flown either by French news agencies or one of the team’s Group E competitors: Switzerland, Honduras, and Ecuador.
In the image of the television shot shown above, Deschamps is quoted as saying: “I will not reduce Honduras to a combative team.” In other words, he wasn’t willing to directly accuse the Honduras team of trying such tactics–but he did name them.
“The drone, which insinuated itself on Tuesday afternoon into the training session for the France team at Ribeirao Preto, was not a spying-eye from the Honduras team, a future adversary of the Blues on Sunday for the first match of the World Cup.”
The French news outlet also confirmed on Wednesday morning that the drone was owned and flown by a fan eager to get a bit of the action by filming the practice–because he could not go to the stadium. The owner of the UAV was arrested by investigators for violating the airspace.
To quote the report from BFMTV: “The ‘smoothly’ run investigation conducted will reassure the delegation that neither the French media or the Brazilian, much less the Honduran media have had the notion of spying on the Blues!”
The FIFA World Cup is meant to promote unity and fellowship around the world, with bit of healthy team rivalry and a good amount of national pride. Followers of the game are well aware that reality sometimes falls short of the ideal. The controversies surrounding FIFA are highly polemic and a daily feast for the press.
The same can be said of the controversies surrounding the use of drones; with authorities reviewing petitions for the use of drones in limited media applications, while news agencies have outright been refused–for now.
In the context of the furore this Drone misunderstanding caused before the official start of the World Cup, it’s clear that the policy by the FAA and other regulatory bodies of prohibiting the use of drones to news services is wise. Otherwise, there may have been drones filming the drone which was filming the practice–and then where would we be?
What is not clear is why Deschamps singled out the Hondurans.
True, they are the first opponent on the match scheduled for Sunday, but it could just as likely have been the Swiss. Or, I suppose, the Ecuadorians.
Of course, it wasn’t the Swiss. Or the Ecuadorians. Or the Hondurans–unless, like other FIFA controversies, this is all just a big coverup which the English will ultimately expose.
The game of football is like the game of life: a lot of running around and kicking things back and forth, with many missed goals..and the occasional drone.
That’s why we love it. Good luck to all the teams!
Spain, you better not let me down next time or I swear…go Colombia!
NB: I’m Spanish, my husband is Colombian, and our cats are Danish–but Denmark did not qualify.
Featured Image: Joseph Blatter announcing 2014 World Cup will be held in Brazil, CC0 Wikimedia.