Blatter backs SAfrica fans on blowing vuvuzelas

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.

AP Sports Writers Paul Logothetis in Potchefstroom and Rob

Harris in Rustenburg contributed to this report.