2010 FIFA World Cup: Vuvuzelas: Local Color or the Curse of the Cup?

Paul AustinCorrespondent IJune 13, 2010

POLOKWANE, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 13: A young football fan blows a vuvuzela ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group C match between Algeria and Slovenia at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on June 13, 2010 in Polokwane, South Africa.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Unless someone has been living under a rock since the start of the tournament, there can't be many people on the planet who are not aware of what a vuvuzela is.

They are loud, they are colorful, but now they are also attracting an increasing number of complaints, and South Africa's World Cup organizers are having to look at the subject once again.

Even prior to the tournament there were calls for the vuvuzela to be banned, with FIFA claiming it could be used as a potential weapon. The South African organizers stood their ground, but with their World Cup stock falling, and a flood of complaints coming in, they're once again looking at the possibility of sanctions against these "instruments."

So far, senior figures inside of football have been underwhelmed by the quality of the tournament—between bouts of sickness, heating various camps, low-key matches, and non-sellout grounds, the tournament itself has failed to ignite, and the vuvuzela is being lined up as the scapegoat.

Already the complaints against the vuvuzela have come from about every possible angle.

Many fans have complained that the constant sound of the horn-like instrument has so far drowned out much of the atmosphere-generating singing usually associated with games.

Broadcasters have complained that they've had to alter volume levels, turning down stadium noise, against commentary noise, to make the commentary clearer, and to drown out the vuvuzela, after complaints from viewers.

And even the players are complaining, citing the inability to communicate on the field, because of the cacophony, for the poor showing in the early matches.

However, it takes an even more sinister twist, with various players complaining that South African fans are congregating near to their hotels and keeping them awake at nights, with their constant blaring.

Amongst the critics, France captain Patrice Evra said, "We can't sleep at night because of the vuvuzelas," and "We can't hear one another out on the pitch because of them."

Under growing pressure, after the poor start to the tournament, South Africa's World Cup organising chief Danny Jordaan has stated that they might ban vuvuzelas from inside stadiums.

Jordaan, who admitted he was not a huge fan of them himself, stated, "It's something we are evaluating on an on-going basis."

So what's the verdict, are vuvuzelas just a bit of local color, or the curse of the cup?