/ 21 June 2010

Coming soon to a TV near you: ‘vu vu horn’-free commentary

The BBC is investigating transmitting “vuvuzela-free” World Cup coverage, as broadcasters were inundated with complaints about the plastic horn and suppliers claimed it has taken the UK by storm.

The BBC has received 220 complaints and although the broadcaster is committed to reflecting the stadium atmosphere, it is believed to be looking at providing a “clean” feed that would strip out most crowd noise via the red button.

South African organisers insisted that vuvuzelas were an important part of the atmosphere and would not be banned, despite the local organising committee chief Danny Jordaan saying that he preferred the sound of singing.

Said Rich Mkhondo, local organising committee spokesperson: “People love vuvuzelas around the world. Only a minority are against them.”

Critics argue that the constant drone masks the ebb and flow of the game and drowns out the crowd.

Danish goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen said that the constant noise meant he could be no more than 10m from his teammates and have eye contact to pass messages. Argentina’s Lionel Messi said: “It’s impossible to communicate; it’s like being deaf.”

But South African goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune said after the opening match that there weren’t enough vuvuzelas in the stadium and called on supporters to make more noise.

Some put international criticism down to the blowing of vuvuzelas by enthusiastic visitors rather than the more expert exponents at local ­Premier League matches.

The LOC called on overseas fans, who have been snapping up the horns, to export them. “They’re now an international instrument,” said a spokesperson.

“People will buy them, stuff them in their suitcases and take them home.”

Fans in the UK appear to be heeding his call: Sainsbury’s supermarket sold 22 000 red “vu vu horns”, as it brands them, in 12 hours before England’s first game. Amazon said sales had increased by 1 000%. —