JOHANNESBURG, June 14 – FIFA on Monday ruled out a ban on the vuvuzela horns which have been driving some players and broadcasters mad at the World Cup, as the makers revealed they had designed a toned-down version.After the chairman of the tournament’s South African organising committee had said he would consider a ban on the tuneless trumpets, football’s governing body issued a swift rebuttal at a daily press briefing.
"Vuvuzelas will not be banned from the stadia," FIFA spokesman Stan Schaffner told reporters. He said FIFA and the organising committee had given "clear statements" against a ban.
His comments were intended to draw a line under speculation that the horns could be shown the red card, sparked by an interview given by organising committee chief Danny Jordaan.
Asked by the BBC if a ban was an option, Jordaan said: "If there are grounds to do so, yes."
"We have asked for no vuvuzelas during national anthems or during stadium announcements. I know it’s a difficult question," he added, saying that "we’re trying to manage the best we can."
The organising committee is a branch of FIFA and is ultimately subordinate to the sport’s governing body.
Jordaan’s comments came after complaints from players and broadcasters who said their commentators are struggling to make themselves heard above the noise which has been compared to a hornets’ nest.
A recent survey found the sound emitted by a vuvuzela was the equivalent to 127 decibels — louder than a drum’s 122 decibels, or a referee’s whistle at 121.8 decibels.
Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo was the latest World Cup star to voice unease about the trumpet, telling reporters that it affected players’ focus.
"It is difficult for anyone on the pitch to concentrate," the Real Madrid star told a press conference.
"A lot of players don’t like them, but they are going to have to get used to them."
Following the welter of complaints, makers of the horns have come up with a quieter version.
"We have modified the mouthpiece, there is now a new vuvuzela which will blow noise that is 20 decibels less than the old one," Neil van Schalkwyk, a partner at Masincedane Sport, told The Star newspaper.
"We hope to sell these at park and ride areas and public viewing areas," added Van Schalkwyk, whose company owns the vuvuzela trademark.
Vuvuzelas are modern spin-offs of traditional instruments made from spiralling kudu horns. Van Schalkwyk said he decided to develop a plastic version after spotting the original versions of the horn being blown at games.
The company says it has had sold 1.5 million vuvuzelas in Europe since October and expects the tournament will generate sales of up to 20 million rand (around two million euros).