It may be the definitive sound of the World Cup, but sporting venues worldwide are trying to make sure the blare of vuvuzelas doesn’t venture beyond South Africa.
The All England Club led the charge in discouraging the din of the plastic horns by banning them at this year’s Wimbledon tournament.
While FIFA and local South African organisers are embracing the omnipresent drone of the cheap trumpets, other sports events certainly don’t seem too fond of them.
“Out of courtesy to the players and their fellow spectators, we make a point of asking spectators not to bring items which could either cause a distraction or interfere with the enjoyment of the occasion,” All England Club chief executive Ian Ritchie said.
“Rattles, klaxons and vuvuzelas all fall into that category and they will not be allowed into the grounds. Our message is do not bring them in the first place.”
That sort of pre-emptive strike might be a wise move.
With souvenir vuvuzelas selling for as little as $US5 ($5.80), tens of thousands of fans are expected to return home from South Africa with a couple in their bags.
In Britain, grocery store chain Sainsbury’s said it had sold 43,000 vuvuzelas at a cost of 2 pounds ($3.40) each – at a rate of one every two minutes.
But the constant drone during matches has been a source of major annoyance to both broadcasters and players.
The world’s most expensive player Cristiano Ronaldo said: “It is difficult for anyone on the pitch to concentrate. A lot of players don’t like them.”
In Britain, an aid group which supports people with hearing impairments, praised the country’s BBC public broadcaster for trying to limit the background noise with its interactive viewing service.
A French cable TV channel, Canal+, is already offering vuvuzela-free broadcasts to subscribers, using frequency-splitting technology to block out the trumpets’ buzz while letting other sounds through.
Premier League clubs in England have yet to make a decision on the vuvuzelas, but Arsenal said using the horns was not against the rules at Emirates Stadium in north London.
Nevertheless, it added that it reserved the right to take any action required to safeguard the fans’ enjoyment of the game.
German football club Borussia Dortmund said the instruments won’t be welcome at matches next season.
London mayor Boris Johnson took time out to blast a few notes on a vuvuzela during a visit to Cape Town this week – but poured cold water on the idea of having them at the 2012 London Olympics.
“It’s a wonderful thing. It’s a beautiful instrument,” Johnson said.
“It’s very easy to master, but I don’t think we’ll necessarily be issuing them to the crowds.”