FIFA not to ban vuvuzela


Johannesburg : Football’s governing FIFA sprang to the defence of the much-maligned vuvuzela Monday with president Joseph Blatter ruling out the favourite accessory of South African football fans being banned at the World Cup.

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Writing on his new twitter feed SeppBlatter, Blatter said: “To answer all your messages (regarding) the vuvuzelas. I have always said that Africa has a different rhythm, a different sound.”

“I don’t see banning the music traditions of fans in their own country. Would you want to see a ban on the fan traditions in your country?”

Earlier the World Cup local organizing committee (LOC) also insisted it had never seriously contemplated banning the plastic horns.

“Vuvuzelas are here to stay and will never be banned,” LOC spokesman Rich Mkhondo said at a press conference at Soccer City Stadium.

“The history of the vuvuzela is ingrained in South Africa,” Mkhondo said.

“As our guests please embrace our culture, please embrace the way we celebrate”.

The vuvuzelas have become a hotly-debated item at the World Cup, with a number of players and coaches saying they hamper communication between players.

South Africa’s star striker Steven Pienaar admitted Thursday even the host team, which is used to the sound, had been deafened by the drone of the trumpets at a recently friendly.

“When we were playing Colombia we couldn’t hear each other,” he told a press conference.

Some spectators have also complained that vuvuzelas drown out other expressions of support, such as singing, even as others insist they reflect fans’ enthusiasm.

The debate intensified on Sunday after the BBC reported that the World Cup chief organizer Danny Jordaan had left the door open to a vuvuzela ban.

In a BBC interview Jordaan lamented the erosion of singing by vuvuzela-blowing in football stadiums in recent years, but only raised the threat of a ban in the unlikely event of vuvuzelas being thrown on the pitch.

Meanwhile, local fans continue to passionately blow their horns and resist attempts to muffle them as “neo-colonialist” meddling.

“It is our way of celebrating life. It is our way of celebrating football,” the owner of the vuvuzela copyright, Neil van Schalkwyk, defended in an interview with South Africa’s SAfm radio Monday.

Van Schalkwyk, whose Cape Town-based company Masincedane Sports, has been making vuvuzelas since the late 1990s, said he had sold over 800,000 in South Africa.

More surprisingly, he said he had also sold 1.5 million units in Europe, home to the horn’s fiercest critics.

“I think it’s something people just need to get used to,” he said.