Drone falls onto pitch in Spanish league game in Bilbao

MADRID — Athletic Bilbao’s home match against Eibar was interrupted Saturday when an airborne drone fell onto the field.

No one was hurt but play was briefly halted in the 68th minute for the referee to retrieve and remove the drone, which had carried a small banner.

Referee Valentín Pizzaro’s match report made no mention of the banner, but Spanish media reported that it bore a message against Bilbao’s San Mamés Stadium hosting games for the European Championship.

Before the European Championship scheduled for last year was delayed due to the pandemic, Spain was set to play group matches in the Basque Country city.

Spain’s northern Basque Country region has a strong local culture. A large segment of its population identifies itself as Basque before Spanish.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the drone was intentionally landed or not.

The Spanish league match ended in a 1-1 draw.

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