Is South Africa the only place you will ever hear the vuvuzela?
Thousands of fans who left South Africa with the noisy horn as their souvenir will be disappointed with the news that the instrument has been banned by most major sporting disciplines around the world.
The vuvuzela managed to stave off attempts to have it banned during the Fifa 2010 World Cup after it won the support of Fifa president Sepp Blatter. Some players, broadcasters and fans felt it had no place in the beautiful game. But Blatter stood firm that it was part of the African football tradition.
This week six English clubs — Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool, West Ham United, Sunderland and Birmingham City — announced that the vuvuzela would not be allowed at their games.
From their website: “Arsenal Football Club has decided to forbid the use of vuvuzelas within Emirates Stadium with immediate effect. This decision has been taken to ensure the enjoyment and safety of supporters on match days, which is of paramount importance to the club.”
West Ham said: “Under the current health and safety regulations at the stadium, which already disallows musical bands, we would not allow them [vuvuzelas] into the stadium as they could be considered a weapon and could also be considered to be an annoyance to others.”
The vuvuzela’s popularity has spread to other sport codes, but resistance seems to be the common denominator among officialdom. In South Africa, rugby fired the first salvo at the controversial horn when the Lions ruled that it would not be permitted, ironically, at Soccer City when the Springboks play the All Blacks next month.
Lions Rugby Union president Kevin de Klerk and South African Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins told Business Day that the vuvuzela’s noise has a greater impact on rugby than on football games. “In rugby the referees rely on clear communication between one another and vuvuzelas interfere with that,” De Klerk is quoted as saying. The ban has also been extended to the Currie Cup matches at Ellis Park.
At Wimbledon, vuvuzelas were among the prohibited items as Rafael Nadal stormed to victory earlier this month.
Test cricket has also joined the assault on the hapless South African invention. Fans have been told to keep it away when England take on Pakistan next week. Rowing’s Henley Royal Regatta has also said vuvuzelas would not be allowed within the tent area or its enclosures.
In the United States, the NBA and even the Ultimate Fighting Championships have given the horn a red card.