Vuvuzelas banned from Euro 2012, Champions League
The honking plastic horns that caused such an uproar at the
World Cup have been shut out of Champions League and European
Championship qualifying matches.
UEFA issued a ban Wednesday that prevents fans from bringing
vuvuzelas into the stadium at any match it organizes in the
continent’s 53 football nations. The governing body of European
football said it made the decision to protect the culture and
tradition of fans singing at matches from the ”negative effect”
of South Africa’s signature musical contraption.
”UEFA feels that the instrument’s widespread use would not be
appropriate in Europe,” the organization said in a statement.
South Africa’s response? A respectful rejection of European
”We believe that UEFA has the right to decide what goes on in
their games, but we believe that they are wrong,” World Cup
organizing committee spokesman Rich Mkhondo told The Associated
”They should not be so rigid about the future ways in which
people like to express themselves,” Mkhondo said in a telephone
interview from South Africa. ”We will forever cherish the way
South Africans and Africans and even the visitors who came from
around the world embraced vuvuzelas.”
South Africa’s defiant stance was backed by FIFA, which defended
vuvuzelas as an important part of the host nation’s football
”I have always said that Africa has a different rhythm, a
different sound,” FIFA president Sepp Blatter said in a Twitter
message on the fourth day of the World Cup. ”I don’t see banning
the music traditions of fans in their own country.”
FIFA refused to ban vuvuzelas despite repeated calls from
players, who said on-field communication was lost in the din, and
broadcasters who feared viewers were turned off by the low-pitch
drone likened to a swarm of buzzing bees.
Yet the UEFA embargo follows bans issued by organizers of
basketball’s world championship and baseball’s Little League World
Series, plus most English Premier League clubs.
UEFA did at least acknowledge Wednesday that vuvuzelas have a
place in world football culture, if not Europe’s.
”In the specific context of South Africa, the vuvuzela adds a
touch of local flavor and folklore,” the organization said.
”(However) the magic of football consists of the two-way
exchange of emotions between the pitch and the stands, where the
public can transmit a full range of feelings to the players,” UEFA
said. ”UEFA is of the view that the vuvuzelas would completely
change the atmosphere, drowning supporter emotions and detracting
from the experience of the game.”
The ban will take effect when qualifying for Euro 2012 begins on
Friday, and when the group stage of the Champions League and Europa
League starts in two weeks.
European broadcasters, many of whom developed sound filters
during the World Cup to try to control the vuvuzela noise, will
likely be delighted by the ban. Valuable television rights deals
help to ensure that the Champions League earns more than ?1 billion
($1.28 billion) in commercial revenue each season.
The European Broadcasting Union, a Geneva-based umbrella group
of mainly state-owned channels, declined comment on Wednesday.
Vuvuzelas also have been opposed on health as well as taste
FIBA cited medical advice when it banned them from the
basketball world championship, which is currently being played in
Turkey. It said the ”controversial instruments” emitted a
120-decibel noise in indoor arenas which could permanently damage
the hearing of players and spectators, and have a ”direct negative
impact” on the game by making it difficult for referees to
In South Africa, Mkhondo pointed to the inclusion of
”vuvuzela” in the Oxford Dictionary of English as proof of a
”This World Cup will be remembered in many ways,” Mkhondo
said. ”One will be the emergence of vuvuzelas as celebratory