JOHANNESBURG - FIFA President Sepp Blatter has defended South African fans' right to blow their vuvuzela horns at World Cup matches despite global criticism from television viewers of the constant blaring noise.
The first-round contests introduced most of the world to the vuvuzela, a plastic trumpet carried into the matches and blown on incessantly by thousands of fans. On television, it sounds as if the game is being played before a nest of angry bees. ESPN spokesman Bill Hofheimer says the network is altering the sound mix on its broadcasts to minimize the crowd noise.
The head of soccer's governing body says Africa has "a different rhythm, a different sound," and the fans' tradition shouldn't be stopped.
Blatter asks in a Twitter message: "Would you want to see a ban on the fan traditions in your country?"
World Cup organizing committee spokesman Rich Mkhondo says vuvuzelas will not be banned in stadiums. Responding to questions at a news conference, Mkhondo said vuvuzelas are ingrained in South Africa's history and were used by its forefathers.
And despite the uproar over the horn, there's an iPhone app for that. CNET reports that the free iPhone Vuvuzela 2010 app has been downloaded more than 700,000 times.
But if you loathe the horn, you can join an anti-vuvuzela Facebook page, such as "I HATE those damn vuvuzela trumpets." and "FIFA - BAN THE ANNOYING VUVUZELA (HORN) FROM THE SOUTH AFRICA WORLD CUP!"