Could the vuvuzela become the sound of British football?

If England fans thought that Robert Green's fumble would be the most traumatic thing to emanate from South Africa's World Cup, imagine this: British football stadiums buzzing to the furious drone of the vuvuzela.

It could become a reality. The long plastic horns, traditional instruments at South African football matches, have become an instant fixture in British pubs and parks, and yesterday the Premier League said that it would not impose a blanket ban on them despite complaints from spectators, television viewers and players about the noise.

The Premier League confirmed that there will be nothing to stop fans bringing them to matches in England and making them a feature of the British game.

"Nothing in our rules specifically prohibits musical instruments from being brought into grounds as such matters are dealt with at club level," said a spokesman. "It will be down to stadium managers, in consultation with supporter groups, to determine what is appropriate."

The supermarket giant Sainsbury's stocked up with 75,000 vuvuzelas in mid-May and has sold 37,000 of the horns so far at £2 each. One bookmaker has started taking bets on which Premier League club will be the first to stock them in club colours.

The vuvuzela has also become an instant success on the iPhone. An app which does nothing but replicate the sound of the buzzing horn has been downloaded 750,000 times.

The UK's largest club football stadium is Manchester United's Old Trafford, which holds 76,000 spectators. A spokesman said that because the horns were not banned by the Premier League – only air horns are – the club would adopt a "suck it and see approach".

He added: "The key thing will be about whether it is spoiling the experience of other people in the ground. Clearly in South Africa it is part of the uniform of a spectator whereas it is not necessarily part of the culture here.

"We do not plan to ban it immediately, but we will look at the first few games, which will be pre-season [friendly] games, and then monitor any complaints. We will deal with it like we would any other complaints – by listening to the fans. The key thing is that they enjoy the game, whether that be with or without vuvuzelas."

The BBC has received more than 200 complaints about the din of the vuvuzelas overwhelming its coverage, and internet message boards and websites such as Twitter have been flooded with grumbles about the noise.

The Spain striker David Villa said it makes team-mates harder to hear, and the Holland forward Robin van Persie claimed he could not hear the referee's whistle due to the noise. There was even a suggestion that they would be banned for the remaining World Cup games, but this has been flatly rejected by the Fifa president, Sepp Blatter. The horns are popular with the tournament crowds, especially those supporting the African nations.

There may be a saving grace for British football fans: one specialist suggested that vuvuzelas could soon be banned in football grounds in this country due to health and safety laws.

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations say that employers must provide extra training and ear protection if the regular noise in the workplace exceeds 85 decibels. A vuvuzela, blown from one metre away, is 116 decibels.

Trevor Cox, president of the Institute of Acoustics, said: "These regulations would mean that clubs would have to train and equip stewards to protect their ears against the noise. One of these things exceeds the noise at work regulations so imagine the effect thousands could have."

Watch Rob Sharp take on the vuvuzela – and lose

Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence