Tuesday, June 15, 2010
A nine-year-old annoyance is not a tradition
After some debate last year, FIFA president, Sepp Blatter decided not to ban them from stadiums saying they are an integral part of South African football culture.
I'm all for honoring traditions, but this one dates back only to 2001 when commercially produced plastic vuvuzelas were made widely available to South African fans.
A vuvuzela creates a noise as loud as 124 db which is louder than a rock concert. According to OSHA people should not be exposed to noises of this volume for more than 15 minutes per day or they risk serious hearing damage.
But the real damage the vuvuzelas are doing is to football's brand.
Casual fans who tune in to see this worldwide spectacle are tuning out in droves. Complaints have come from viewers around the globe because of the incessant drone on the telecasts. Even hard core football fans are turning the volume down in order to maintain their sanity, while broadcasters are trying to filter out the noise using the latest audio technology.
I personally find the broadcasts damn near unwatchable and I am not a quiet fan, as anyone who's sat next to me at a Tigers' game can attest.
So the enduring memory from the 2010 FIFA World Cup will not be the great play on the field, the crowning of a new champion, the hospitality of the host nation. It will instead be the annoying buzzing of those damn $3 plastic horns.
I'm pretty sure that's not what FIFA had in mind.