African business, politics and lifestyle
Money will talk louder than any vuvuzela
The debate around the vuvuzela was always going to generate big noise but for some South African commentators it has become almost a neo-colonial conflict.
The noisy trumpet, which dominates the sound waves around the stadiums during the Confederations Cup, has got a lot of people covering their ears.
Complaints from TV viewers across Europe have been vociferous enough for the future of the plastic pest to become the major item on the agenda at the series of press conferences FIFA president Sepp Blatter has held during the tournament in South Africa.
Blatter has said it will stay — he wants to celebrate local custom and is inviting the rest of the world to do so too.
FIFA’s television arm, HBS, are more cautious but say privately, at the end of the day what Blatter says goes.
The European TV stations, who pay a lot of the money that funds FIFA, Blatter and the World Cup, could have the vuvuzela banned if they bleated enough. But most of the noise, so far, has come from enraged South Africa columnists, who have rounded on the poor Dutch journalist who first sought Blatter’s response to complaints from European television viewers.
In Africa, there is a sensitivity to being told what to do from outside and a pride in seeking to create a unique World Cup in 2010. Some of the stuff written though has been a little churlish. See here, here and here for a flavour.
At the end the day, it is the big TV money that talks. If the world’s broadcasters feel the cacophony of vuvuzelas detracts from the viewing pleasure of their public, FIFA will be forced to back down and ban the trumpets from the 2010 World Cup stadiums.
It won’t have anything to do with any ‘ism, just cold hard cash.