A comprehensive resource for safe and responsible laser use
UK: €30000 fine for laser aimed at goalkeeper during European Cup semifinal
Three days later the English Football Association was fined €30000 (USD $35,600), primarily for the laser attack but also for two other disturbances (fireworks and booing) perpetrated by England fans.
The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) makes associations and clubs liable for inappropriate behavior on the part of their supporters "even if they can prove the absence of any negligence in relation to the organisation of the match." Article 16, section 2d of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations prohibits the use of "laser pointers or other similar electronic devices."
Schmeichel had told a referee that he was being targeted by a laser, prior to the penalty kick. After the match, he told the press "I did not experience it on the penalty kick because it was behind me on my right side. But I did experience it in the second half. I told the referee. And he went to say something to the other officials."
The goalkeeper did not indicate that the laser directly affected or impaired his play.
Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, with laser light on his face near his eye, just before the penalty kick.
According to the Daily Mail, "The torch-style gadgets have been a problem at sporting events for some time - affecting Wayne Rooney and Jose Mourinho - but in recent years have been rarely seen at football matches. There is a law relating to them being used to endanger vehicles but would not cover individuals. It may be the offence would fall under an assault category."
Metropolitan Police were said to be considering a criminal probe as the match site, Wembley Stadium, falls under their jurisdiction.
From the Daily Mail and MSN. Thank you to Alberto Kellner for first bringing this to our attention.
US: UPDATED - NFL quarterback targeted by laser pointer during game; fan eventually found and fined $500
KMBC reporter William Joy highlighted the green laser beam, seen here on the center of Tom Brady's helmet. The laser appeared to be around 4 inches wide, and danced on the quarterback's upper body — it was not held steady. Video by Turner Twyman.
According to Joy, the beam was on Brady's eyes and helmet at least three times during the game: "…once right after the muffed Julian Edelman punt call was overturned when Patriots retook possession, once on a completion to Chris Hogan, and once on a deep ball to Rob Gronkowski."
The NFL's security department was looking into the incident. As of January 23 2019, Kansas City police have not received a complaint but say they will investigate if a complaint is filed.
From the Washington Post, Boston Globe, musketfire.com and many other news sources. Sports Illustrated has an especially detailed look at the safety and legal issues around laser pointer misuse at NFL games. Thanks to Doug McCullough for bringing this to our attention.
COMMENTARY BY LASERPOINTERSAFETY.COM: Based on the brightness and size of the beam in the videos, it is highly unlikely that this had enough irradiance (power density) to cause harm to any person's eyes.
Light from a laser pointer can harm human eyes at close ranges; within a few yards or meters. But at the distances involved, from a person in the stands to a player on the field, light from a handheld laser pointer would spread out (as the video shows) and would not be steady enough to allow dangerous heat to build up in the eye. This goes for both visible green light, and any non-visible infrared light (some poorly-constructed green laser pointers also emit non-visible infrared light).
The worst effect would be glare or brief flashblindness, like when a camera flash goes off close to a person's face. Since Brady did not seem to notice, and others — national sportscasters and the two teams involved — also did not notice anything unusual at the time, the laser targeting did not seem to affect the outcome of the play or of the game.
LaserPointerSafety.com has more stories about lasers misused during sporting events.
UPDATED February 3 2019: ESPN reported that Kansas City Chiefs officials, using videotape and eyewitnesses, identified the person who aimed a laser at New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The person has been banned for life from the Chiefs' stadium. The officials have asked the Kansas City district attorney to bring the strongest possible charges against the person, to act as a deterrent.
ESPN also reported that "…members of the military have reached out to Brady to inform him that the lasers shined near his face could cause irreversible eye damage."
From ESPN and many subsequent sources such as the Boston Herald and CBS Sports
UPDATED April 11 2019: Dwyan Morgan, 64, was identified as the man who aimed a laser at Tom Brady during the American Football Conference championship game on January 20 2019. He was cited with one count of disturbing the peace; the penalty is up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. Morgan will appear in Jackson County Municipal Court on July 17.
According to Heavy.com, Morgan is an electrician from Lee's Summit, Missouri. The website also said that a younger male relative posted items on Facebook making light of the citation and Brady.
According to TMZ, "Sources connected to Morgan tell us ... his intention was never to hurt anyone, he was just trying to have fun and didn't expect things to blow up the way they did. We're also told Morgan was drinking before the laser incident...." TMZ also reported that "One source close to the Chiefs fan says he feels bad for embarrassing Chiefs Nation, but has no plans to apologize to the Patriots. In fact, we're told he still hates the Pats and Tom Brady ... passionately and will continue to root against them -- just not from Arrowhead [Stadium], because he's been banned."
From the Boston Herald, Heavy.com, TMZ, and a press release from the Jackson County Prosecutor
UPDATED May 13 2019: Dwyan Morgan told Inside Edition he did not intend to injure Tom Brady. Morgan said he was intoxicated and wanted to distract the quarterback. He said "I shouldn't have done it" but also said he is not gong to apologize to Brady or the Patriots football team. From Inside Edition
Dwyan Morgan recreates his aiming a laser pointer at Tom Brady, for the TV show Inside Edition
Dwyan Morgan and his 23-year-old son Colton both appear to be amused by Dwyan getting a misdemeanor citation for "Disturbing the peace by shining a laser pointer in the direction of Tom Brady during a football game."
UPDATED July 18 2019: On July 17 2019 Dwyan Morgan pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace. He was fined $500. He was not given any jail time. From TMZ Sports and the Associated Press via KSNT.com
Mexico: Laser aimed at NFL quarterback during game
The first incident happened near the end of the second quarter of play. When the game resumed after halftime, the laser was again aimed onto the field about two minutes into the third quarter, on running back Lamar Miller:
According to analyst John Harris of HoustonTexans.com, “The Texans security spent nearly the entire first half trying to find the culprit in the North end zone. There were state and city police in that end zone for most of the rest of the half. I don’t know if they ever found anyone….”
After the game, Osweiler was asked about the laser interference: “There were multiple times I saw a green laser coming from the stands. There were a couple of times it definitely hit me in the eye. And it was very noticeable…. Certainly, having a laser zoomed in on your eyeball definitely affects how you play.”
US: College football referee asks fans to stop shooting laser beams onto field
The referee stopped the game and, using the public address system, faced the crowd and said “Ladies and gentlemen, please refrain from shooting lasers onto the field. Thank you.”
A video of the laser beam, and the referee’s announcement, can be seen here.
From USA Today and SB Nation
Scotland: UEFA opens investigation about laser pointer aimed at Aberdeen player
UEFA could impose a fine of €10,000 on the Macedonian club.
Laser light in goalkeeper Danny Don’s face
From the Herald and the Evening Express
US: Two more laser pointer incidents at U.S. football games
Hawaii college game interrupted by laser pointer
On Saturday October 11 2014, a football game between the University of Hawaii and the University of Wyoming was interrupted in the fourth quarter. A green laser light had been spotted on the field near Wyoming’s quarterback.
The referee stopped the game announced over the public address speakers, “There's a member of the stadium that has a laser pointer that continues to shine in the eyes of the offensive players. We're currently seeking game management and security to resolve that situation." The person was not found.
University of Hawaii officials said they believe the laser was more powerful than classroom pointers, which legally are limited to 5 milliwatts.
Under Hawaii Revised Statues, Chapter 136, no one under the age of 18 is allowed to possess a laser pointer. Shining a laser at a person can lead to up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.
University of Hawaii athletics director Ben Jay was asked by KHON if he knew of any previous laser pointer incident. Jay told the TV station, “To my knowledge ... it really hasn’t happened at a college football game in recent memory that I can recall. But I think the spate of some of the recent NFL games that have been affected by lasers probably prompted this person to do such a really idiotic act.”
There may have been another laser pointer at the game, as well. A person in the press box told KHON he saw a red light “dancing for about two seconds or so .... which means there were probably at least two laser pointers used at game time.”
A spokesperson for the Mountain West athletic conference said he was not aware of any other laser incidents at Mountain West venues. The 12-college conference oversees intercollegiate sports including baseball, basketball, football, and soccer. He told KITV, “We have already communicated with all appropriate parties within the Conference to take whatever measures necessary to address and eliminate the use of laser pointers.”
Aloha Stadium officials said they would step up bag checks but that finding laser pointers on entering fans would be difficult.
From KHON2.com (story 1 and follow-up story 2) and KITV.com
Michigan high school game delayed due to laser pointer
On Friday October 10 2014, a football game between Walled Lake Western high school and Walled Lake Central high school was delayed for more than 10 minutes in the second quarter. A laser pointer was used to distract Walled Lake Western players during the game. According to MLive.com, “Play was stopped for an extended period of time as officials, police officers and other members of the school's security staff gathered to discuss the matter and attempt to put a stop to it. The culprit was not located, though no further issues arose involving a laser pointer.”
Walled Lake, Michigan is about 26 miles northwest of Detroit’s Ford Field, where the October 5 2014 laser pointer incident occurred during an NFL game between the Detroit Lions and the Buffalo Bills. Walled Lake is also 6 miles southwest of West Bloomfield Township, where Mark (or Marko) Beslach lives; he is the Detroit fan identified by ESPN and ABC News as the person who used the laser during the NFL game and was subsequently banned indefinitely from Ford Field.
Map showing Walled Lake, West Bloomfield Township, and Detroit in relation to each other
US: Father of teen banned for NFL lasering asks police protection from opposing team's fans
According to reporter Eric Lacy, the father asked for help from police in West Bloomfield, a township in the Detroit metropolitan area, on October 10, one day after the Detroit Lions confirmed they had located the youth.
The name of the 17-year-old laser perpetrator was reported by ESPN, ABC News and other sources to be Mark (or Marko) Beslach of West Bloomfield. Before the October 5 NFL match in Detroit, a tweet from “@MarkoBeslach” said he was going to put a green light on Buffalo Bills players. After the game, a follow-up tweet said he “got Kyle Orton”, the Bills’ quarterback. The Twitter account was deleted later that day, but a screenshot of the two tweets was widely circulated on the Internet. According to Detroit Lions officials, the laser perpetrator was caught in part because of social media postings.
The Lions banned the youth from Ford Field “indefinitely”, and he was charged with disorderly conduct (a misdemeanor requiring payment of a small fine). The Lions also revoked the season tickets of the person who provided tickets to the perpetrator and had a “close relationship” with him, according to an earlier ESPN report.
The nature of the Bills fans’ harassment was not known. Calls by MLive.com to the family phone were not answered. MLive.com filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the West Bloomfield police department to get more information about the request for police assistance.
From MLive.com. Thanks to Dan Goldsmith for bringing this to our attention. LaserPointerSafety.com has additional stories about the original October 5 2014 incident, and the October 9 announcement by the Detroit Lions that they had found and punished the laser offender.
US: UPDATED - NFL fan banned from Detroit games, faces charge for aiming laser at football players
In addition, the person was charged with disorderly conduct by the Detroit City Prosecutor’s Office. This is a misdemeanor and would require payment of a small fine ($50, according to WSJM.com).
Finally, the Ford Field season ticket holder whose tickets were used by the laser-wielding person has had his tickets revoked for the remainder of the 2014 football season (e.g., five regular season home games).
In the October 9 press release, Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand wrote “[T]his occurrence was unique in that it could have affected the integrity of the game and more importantly could have jeopardized player safety.”
The Lions’ statement did not name the individual. Detroit city attorney Melvin Hollowell identified the person as a 17-year-old from the Detroit-area township of West Bloomfield, Michigan.
ESPN reported that the person was “Mark Beslach”, ABC News reported he was “Marko Beslach, a recent high-school graduate.”
The person identified as Marko Beslach by ABC News on its program “World News Tonight”
In a statement to the press, Lewand was asked if the season-ticket holder was the youth’s father. Lewand declined to give specifics but did say there was a close relationship between the laser perpetrator and the ticket holder.
A person with the account “Marko Beslach” tweeted before and after the game on October 5, about having a laser pointer and having used it on Buffalo Bills quarterback Kyle Orton. The tweet was later deleted, but not before a screenshot was recorded.
Lewand said the tweets were part of how they found the perpetrator: “I certainly don’t think he did himself any favors by talking about it.”
The Lions said that stadium security and operations staffs worked with team security, NFL security, and Detroit Police to find and penalize the perpetrator.
The ban will be implemented, according to Lewand, using technologies such as paperless ticketing, camera monitoring systems and identification processes. If the ban was violated, the person would be prosecuted for trespassing.
Lewand also noted that ticket holders who sell their tickets are responsible for the behavior of the buyers. The sellers could lose their rights to tickets if the buyer causes problems.
Laser pointers are banned from all 32 NFL stadiums.
From the Detroit Lions press release, ESPN, ABC News, WSJM.com and FOX Sports. For details about the original incident, and the initial reports about the Marko Beslach tweets, see this LaserPointerSafety.com story.
UPDATED - October 10 2014: News source MLive.com reported that the father of the laser-wielding youth has asked for police protection due to harassment from Buffalo Bills fans. Details are in this LaserPointerSafety.com story.
UPDATED - June 29 2015: Marko Beslach in November 2014 pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. He was fined $235, had to do 80 hours of community service, and was given a one-year suspended sentence. He will have his case reviewed November 23 2015. From the Detroit Free Press.
Switzerland: UEFA fines Serbian club for incidents against U.K. club, including laser pointers
On October 6 2014, UEFA ordered Partizan to close one section of their stadium for their next home game on October 23. The club was also fined €40,000 (USD $50,340).
Partizan had previously issued a statement saying “We fully condemn perpetrators of this mindless act, not only of antisemitic nature, but one that represents hatred of Partizan and Serbia as well.”
From the Daily Mail and the Guardian
US: UPDATED - Laser aimed at NFL team quarterback, holder
The game was between the Buffalo Bills (visitors) and the Detroit Lions (home team). The laser pointer was aimed at Bills holder Colton Schmidt just before an unsuccessful 50-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter. Kicker Dan Carpenter was upset after the kick, talking to a referee until officials told him to return to the sideline. WIVB TV reported that the referee could be seen mouthing the words “No, I didn’t see it” to Carpenter.
In a post-game press conference, Bills coach Doug Marrone said the issue was resolved before the end of the game. He characterized the laser incident as less of a distraction and more of a motivator for Carpenter, who won the game with a successful 58-yard field goal with four seconds left to play.
Click to read more...
World: UPDATED - Laser pointer may have affected World Cup goal; Algerian team fined USD $56,170
Russian team manager Fabio Capello blamed the defeat on biased officiating and on the laser incident: “Our goalkeeper was affected by a laser 10 seconds before the goal. He was blinded by a laser, there are photos, films of it.... You can see that in the footage. This not an excuse, it is a fact. There was a laser. I have never come up with excuses to get by in my entire life.”
Two views of the laser on Russian goalie Igor Akinfeev.
In the 60th minute, after play had stopped for a free kick, a laser beam was repeatedly flashed in goalie Igor Akinfeev’s face. He stood up, and yelled and motioned at the referees to get them to try to stop the laser, as shown in the GIF animation below.
Then, as play resumed, Akinfeev was again hit near his eye. He appeared to misjudge the ball’s flight, leaving the goal exposed:
According to The Verge, “It’s difficult to tell quite how much Akinfeev was affected by the beam — the Russian doesn't blink or wince as it rakes across his face.”
The game took place at the Arena de Baixada, in Curitiba, Brazil. The final 1-1 score was not unexpected. For example, a preview published prior to the game by SportsKeeda foretold the 1-1 outcome: “Given that Algeria only need a draw to go through, they might not go out and attack in the second half, if the game is in the balance. Russia on the other hand, need to, but their misfiring attack is unlikely to score too many past Algeria. So expect a draw with Algeria going through and Russia going home. Predicted Scoreline: Algeria 1 – 1 Russia.”
FIFA, the world football governing body, in its publication Stadium Safety and Security Regulations recommends a ban on “Any item that could distract the players and/or officials, including laser pointers...” It is not known if the Arena de Baixada had such a ban in place or was actively searching all entrants for laser pointers.
From Fansided.com, Yahoo Sports, the Daily Mail, The Verge, SportsKeeda, and Larry Brown Sports.
UPDATED June 30 2014: The Algerian Football Union was fined 50,000 swiss francs (about USD $56,170) by FIFA, which has the power to fine clubs for their fans’ behavior. From the Voice of Russia.
Romania: Lionel Messi targeted with laser at soccer match
Messi is lit up by a laser near his face
From the Daily Mail
US: Man targets soccer player with laser; injures policeman during arrest
According to police, Marquez was causing a disturbance by shining a green laser in the eyes of persons at Players Indoor Sports Center. He was not on either team and police do not know why he was at the game. No injuries were reported by any of the targeted soccer players.
Marquez, a convicted burglar, was charged with felony resisting or obstructing a police officer causing injury and two counts of disorderly conduct/breach of peace.
From the Naperville Sun
UK: Football fan arrested after aiming laser at Chelsea manager
The game was held in Chelsea’s home stadium at Stamford Bridge. The laser appeared to come from the “away” end of the stadium. An announcement was made, in English and Romanian, warning the fans to stop using the laser.
Chelsea player Ashley Cole has laser light aimed onto his face
The manager told reporters the laser did not unduly affect him: “I can’t worry about that during the game. I don’t know if it can create problems or not. But during the game I felt it a couple of times. I felt the green, I felt no pain.”
Chelsea went on to win the match 1-0.
From SuperSport, the London Evening Standard and VitalFootball.co.uk
China: Man detained 5 days for aiming laser pointer at football fans, players and referees
The man was caught by police, who said he would be held in custody five days.
From the Business Standard
US: Referee stops ACC championship football game due to laser pointer on quarterback
The light, coming from the player’s left side, briefly hit his eye area. It probably did not enter his pupil due to the side angle. Here is an image captured from video.
The laser was aimed primarily at his helmet:
The referee stopped the game, announcing over the public address system “There is a laser being pointed on the field from the stands. It needs to be stopped with security please. Take a look at section 343.”
Australia & Argentina: Rugby player tries to tune out laser distractions
The October 2 2013 article references an incident the previous week, where a New Zealand All Blacks player was given a second chance at a kick after being distracted by a laser pointer aimed by Argentine fans. According to the story, “the controversial practice [is] now associated almost exclusively with Argentine crowds.”
Lealiifano said “I don't really worry about it too much. I guess you have to try and block it out visually. I have a certain target on the ball that I look at and concentrate on the most, because that's my target area and striking zone. If the laser is around that area it might distract me, but if I stay focused on that, hopefully nothing else goes wrong.”
From the Canberra Times
Ukraine: Laser aimed at French players during Euro 2012 match
Later, after France won 2-0, a green laser was aimed at the chest of France’s Adil Rami as he celebrated the victory:
Story from the Daily Mail, photo from Daylife. Thanks to Tim Cooper for bringing this to our attention, as well as “Boatbuilder”.
Italy: Barcelona's Messi tagged with laser pen against Milan
Later, during another Messi free kick, a laser was aimed at Milan defender Dani Alves.
Messi is a top-ranked star who he won FIFA World Player of the Year in 2009, and won the UFEA Best Player in Europe award for 2010-11.
From Metro and the Guardian
UK: Footballer scores winning goal despite laser pen attack
Despite the distraction, Gerrard made the game-winning goal against Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart:
There was no indication in news stories whether the pen-wielding laser lout was identified.
From The Telegraph
World: Soccer star feels persecuted by laser attacks
"Everyone is speaking badly of me, but why don't people criticize the lasers that were being aimed into my eyes?” Ronaldo said at a press conference. He intends to ask the Union of European Football Associations to take action to ban laser pointers from stadiums.
From Bettor.com, ESPN, and Yahoo!Sports
Italy: Footballer says laser pointer not at fault for missed kick
The Champions League game was played October 18 2011 in Naples, between Bayern Munich and Napoli. Others on the Munich team had different opinions. Sports director Christian Nerlinger said “Laser points are not acceptable. It is a major disturbance and an impossible thing to do,” while midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger said “Of course it is guess [sic] but I think there is little you can do about it.”
From Monsters and Critics
Malaysia: Laser shined on goalie during World Cup qualifying game
A still from the video (below) shows a laser being used to disrupt goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud
This is at least the third time that Malasysian fans have lased opponents. On December 26 2010, an AFF Cup finals match with Indonesia was delayed eight minutes after a laser was aimed on Indonesia’s goalkeeper Markus Harison. Indonesia’s president became involved after the game. News reports at the time said there was also a previous incident in a game with Vietnam.
From Guyism and YouTube
Malaysia: Football players walk off to protest laser pen wielding fans
The incident happened during the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Cup finals first leg. In an earlier AFF Cup semi-final game against Malaysia, Vietnam’s players complained of fans’ laser interference as well.Click to read more...
Italy: €15000 fine for laser in goalkeeper's eyes
US: Laser hits college football player
The story here has a photo showing the pointer on his jersey and helmet. ESPN has a video which also shows the incident.
Australia: Readers comment on laser lout incident
“This sort of madness just should not be tolerated - it is at best a risk or blinding an individual, yes, just even a Joe Citizen: at worst it could bring down a plane. Typical of all our soft governments - and our soft judiciaries.”
“A laser in the eyes can permanently blind, these brain dead individuals are not just louts or plain footy fans they are criminals and should be treated as such.... Why the hell does anyone need to carry around a laser light ? They are of no legitimate use to an idiot, except to cause nuisance, they should be classed a concealed weapon and treated accordingly.”
“The practice of directing laser beams at aircraft is incredibly dangerous as is the potential of using these beams in any other situation. There were reports of the same thing happening to footballers at the weekend. The penalties suggested going to the Senate today are insufficient to say the least and should not only cover aircraft but any use of these lasers intended to injure other people.”
Additional comments are at the Melbourne Herald Sun article.
Australia: Lasers banned at football game; jail possible
The league has vowed to work with police and venues to crack down on the problem following at least two incidents in Friday night's Richmond-Collingwood clash.
"The AFL will work with police and our venues to ban anyone caught using laser lights to distract players during the course of a match," said league operations manager Adrian Anderson.
"It's unacceptable for players in a contact sport having something shine in their eyes while playing the game.
A sharp jump in the number of lasers aimed into aircraft cockpits has sparked new laws to allow offenders to be jailed.
The draft laws will be put before the Senate today. The legislation comes as Transport Minister Mark Vaile reported there had been 170 laser incidents in 2007 and the dangerous practice was happening more often.
Click to read more...
UK: "Laser lout" targets footballer
The Reds wizard was targeted during the warm-up and in the first half of United’s 1-1 Champions League draw in Lyon.
Manager Alex Ferguson, relieved at Carlos Tevez’s 87th-minute equaliser, said: “We reported it to UEFA. We noticed it before the game. They tried to deal with it but I don’t know how much longer it went on.”
Ronaldo made no comment about the incident, though he did not have one of his better nights on the pitch.
From The Sun (UK). The link has a video capture showing the footballer with a large green spot on his face.