Blatter backs SAfrica fans on blowing vuvuzelas
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Sepp Blatter has defended South African fans’ right to blow their vuvuzela horns at World Cup matches despite global criticism from television viewers of the constant blaring noise.
“I have always said that Africa has a different rhythm, a different sound,” the FIFA president said in a Twitter message on Monday. “I don’t see banning the music traditions of fans in their own country.”
Blatter went on to ask: “Would you want to see a ban on the fan traditions in your country?”
FIFA and Blatter have strongly backed the use of vuvuzelas since they were introduced to the wider football world at the Confederations Cup in South Africa last year.
Broadcasters objected then to the noise emitted by the slender plastic horns, which has been likened to a swarm of bees invading the stadium.
Some fans have reported watching World Cup matches with their television muted to escape the vuvuzela orchestra.
The noise can also affect players’ ability to perform on the field.
“In many parts of the game, it can bother you a bit because you can’t communicate anything to a teammate who’s more than 10 meters away from you,” said Spain striker David Villa, who played at the Confederations Cup.
However, Villa added that the noise “brings a nice ambiance and some emotion.”
World Cup organizers insisted Monday that vuvuzelas will not be banned in stadiums, despite the yearlong debate.
Organizing committee spokesman Rich Mkhondo said television viewers were different people than the colorfully dressed fans bringing the instruments to matches.
“I wouldn’t dwell too much on what outsiders think about vuvuzelas. I would dwell … on what the feelings of the spectators are,” he said at a news conference.
Responding to a typical stream of vuvuzela questions at his daily media briefing, Mkhondo said they are ingrained in South Africa’s history.
“You find that they emanate from the horn which was used by our forefathers to call meetings,” he said. “As our guests, please embrace our culture, please embrace the way we celebrate.
“You either love them or you hate them. We in South Africa love them.”
Mkhondo said the vuvuzela was now an international instrument, and visitors were “stuffing them into their suitcase” before going home from the World Cup.
England defender Jamie Carragher said he’s been asked to take some back.
“My kids have been on the phone and they want two. I’ve got two in my bag already,” Carragher said.