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Buzzing horns create dissonance for World Cup fans

A Uruguay fan blows a vuvuzela prior to

A Uruguay fan blows a vuvuzela prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between Uruguay and France. (June 11, 2010) Photo Credit: Getty Images

The buzzzzz is the buzz of the 2010 World Cup soccer, or rather football, matches under way in South Africa, and for now, it isn't likely to end.

Despite global complaints, the loud, constant droning of the vuvuzela - the horn beloved by South African fans to express excitement and passion in the stands during matches - will not be banned from the stadiums unless they're thrown on the field, said officials of the World Cup governing organization, FIFA.

"To answer all your messages re the vuvuzelas. I have always said that Africa has a different rhythm, a different sound," FIFA president Sepp Blatter said in a Twitter message. "I don't see banning the music traditions of fans in their own country. Would you want to see a ban on the fan traditions in your country?"

Probably not - football-loving English fans cherish their taunting songs, the Swiss their cowbells and the Germans their scarf-waving - but certainly many want a ban on the vuvuzela. Its drone has been compared to a swarm of angry bees drowning out cheers, gasps, singing, national anthems, and, players have complained, the voices of teammates on the field of play.

Online websites and Facebook groups garnered about 80,000 votes each by Monday afternoon in favor of a ban.

The South African manufacturer of the inexpensive plastic horns, Masincedane Sport, said it would offer a quieter version. Meanwhile, some television viewers are hitting mute.

But not Jack Keane, director of football at Nevada Smiths ("where football is religion!"), a restaurant/bar in Manhattan that shows 100 live matches each week year-round, and where this week fans have been blowing on their own vuvuzelas.

"I personally like it," said Keane. "It's part of the culture of South Africa and it lends a crazy atmosphere to the games."

In fact, fan Nick Matros, 29, who watched the match Monday at The Bench Bar in Stony Brook, said fans often blow a horn that sounds like a vuvuzela at Major League Soccer games.

"It's ridiculous they're making a big deal about it, except for during the national anthems," he said. "Soccer games are always going to be loud and there's always a way for a crowd to be obnoxiously loud."

That said, he confessed that "personally I don't like it, but I don't see how they could ban it."

Niall Gunn, owner of Monaghan's bar in Rockville Centre, said he hopes they'll ban the horns as the competition progresses to the next round. "I'd rather see the 'wave' and hear some good songs," he said.

New York Sports