The soccer game between the towns of Yeovil and Crawley in the UK, was interrupted by the referee after he spotted a drone flying over the stadium. The game was stopped in the 80th minute but resumed after an 11-minute delay when an unmanned aerial vehicle was seen flying over the Huish Park stadium. The soccer match ended in Crawley beating nine-man Yeovil 2-1.
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Somerset Live reported that after the drone was spotted flying over the stadium referee Brett Huxtable took the players off the field. Security staff made sure that the Huish Park stadium and the surrounding areas were safe before resuming the game. No injuries have been reported. The drone disappeared quickly once it had been seen.
Manager, Harry Kewell of Crawley Town, said that stopping the game provided an opportunity for him to talk to his players. He said:
“I’ve never seen that before in my life. It probably worked in my favour when the drone came. It gave me a chance to get my boys and ask, ‘what are you doing? That wasn’t the plan’. When we got back we started playing football again, we got one or two chances and then we got the goal.”
According to a Yeovil Town Football Club spokesperson, the referee acted appropriately:
“Correctly following the agreed protocol, the officials removed the players from the field of play for safety reasons, incurring an 11 minute delay. As part of the club’s own protocol regarding security concerns, stewards and security staff were deployed across the Huish Park site to investigate. The club will now continue to work with Avon and Somerset Police as the investigation continues.”
The team from Crowley went on to win the game in the 87th minute.
In the U.S. it is prohibited to fly your drone over crowds or over or near stadium when events or sports games are taking place. Recently we reported on a drone pilot dropping propaganda over two NFL games in Northern California.
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