Opinion Brief

World Cup: Ban the vuvuzela horns?

The horns blown by fans at the World Cup are apparently so loud they're preventing players from hearing each other on the field. Is it time to ban them? 

Some say they sound like a swarm of angry bees. Others say the roar is more like rush hour in New York City. But however you describe the deafening noise from a chorus of vuvuzelas, plastic horns beloved by South African soccer fans, it is clear the instrument is becoming a serious problem at the 2010 World Cup. Broadcasters complain the drone is disrupting their coverage, and soccer players say they can't hear each other on the field. Patrice Evra, the French captain, even blamed the noise for his team's loss. Danny Jordaan, chief executive of the South Africa 2010 organizing committee, has warned that the horns could be banned if things get worse — although FIFA, soccer's international governing body, says no ban is being considered. Is it time to silence the vuvuzelas? (Listen to the vuvuzelas during a match)

Yes! The vuvuzelas are ruining the experience: The "unrelenting water-torture beehive hummmmmmm" of the vuvuzela is "killing the atmosphere" at the World Cup, says John Leicester at the Associated Press. In a normal soccer game, sounds "ebb and flow like tides with the fortunes on the field." The sudden silence at a "late, defeat-inflicting goal." The "sharp communal intake of breath" as a shot misses by an inch. The "humorous/moving/offensive" chants of the fans. All are drowned out by "the trumpets' never-ending screech.""No chants equals no atmosphere at World Cup"

Embrace the vuvuzela as the sound of South Africa: Yes, the sound can be annoying, says Craig Kanalley at The Huffington Post, but "the vuvuzela is all about South African pride." Talk to locals and they'll tell you how much they love the "amazing and unique atmosphere" provided by the roar of the horns. And with 650,000 vuvuzelas already sold, it's clear there's a passion for them among fans in the host nation. "It's not time to silence the noisemaker.""Vuvuzela ban? A case for vuvuzelas to keep blowing at World Cup 2010"

Surely there's a technical fix for this irritating sound: There must be a compromise to "address the vuvuzela nuisance" without offending South African fans, says Donald Marron at The Christian Science Monitor. Is it too much to ask ESPN and ABC to "figure out a way to cancel out most of the vuvuzela noise," perhaps by focusing on "different frequencies"? If that's too "technically challenging," then can someone please invent an "anti-vuvuzela sound filter?" Right now, the only solution is the "low tech" option — the "mute button.""Great World Cup! But can they ban the vuvuzelas?"

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