World Cup: FIFA to fans -- buzz off


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The vuvuzelas are here to stay.

That’s the verdict from FIFA, the world governing body for soccer and organizer of the World Cup, which once again refused to bow to pressure and ban the loud -- and controversial -- plastic horns.

“I have always said that Africa has a different rhythm, a different sound,” FIFA President Sepp Blatter said in a Twitter post. “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?”


The buzzing horns, which sound like thousands of angry bees, first came to the soccer world’s attention in last summer’s Confederations Cup in South Africa. But after FIFA considered banning the noisemakers from the World Cup, Blatter said they would be allowed in deference to their place in South African soccer culture.

Four days into the tournament, however, and TV viewers around the world are making their own noise. According to the Associated Press, ESPN has received some complaints, but “not an overwhelming amount,” network spokesman Bill Hofheimer said. Al-Jazeera, South Korean broadcaster SBS, TF1 in France and Brazil’s BandSports also have heard from viewers unhappy about the incessant drone.

Some fans have said they have resorted to watching TV with the sound turned down, while a poll conducted by the text-answer service found that 88% of respondents say the vuvuzelas are destroying the World Cup broadcasts.

Even some players are complaining. After a 1-0 loss to Ghana before an pro-Ghana crowd armed with vuvuzelas, Serbian players complained about the noise. However, others, such as U.S. defender Jonathan Bornstein and Spanish striker David Villa, say the horns, while distracting, add to the emotion and ambiance of the games.

-- Kevin Baxter in Johannesburg, South Africa