Already barred and vilified in some quarters worldwide, the vuvuzela could soon find itself out of domestic league stadiums if fans continue to use it as a missile, the Premier Soccer League warned on Thursday.
League prosecutor Zola Majavu says the time has come to “open the debate” over the viability of allowing fans to carry the controversial instrument into match grounds, when a few would hurl it on to the pitch to display their anger at match officials.
Majavu was speaking at the league’s Parktown offices on Thursday where Kaizer Chiefs owner Kaizer Motaung was compelled to apologise for the behaviour of some of his club’s fans during last month’s MTN8 defeat to Orlando Pirates.
Chiefs were slapped with a suspended R500000 fine after a section of their fans threw two vuvuzelas and bizarrely, a cabbage, on to the Soccer City field after a referee’s decision had gone against their team.
Should Amakhosi lose to AmaZulu in the Telkom Knockout on Saturday, and some angry fan throws a vuvuzela on to the pitch, the suspended fine would kick in.
“In every incident which I’ve prosecuted relating to spectator misbehaviour, the vuvuzela has always been among the missiles thrown,” Majavu said. “We now have to open the debate about whether it should continue to be at our stadiums if fans use it as a missile.”
Motaung also seemed to back Majavu’s call, saying the vuvuzela could be used to smuggle sharp objects into the stadium.
“I have never been a fan of the vuvuzela because it just makes noise and adds nothing to the game. I prefer singing at the stadium, as the fans of Bloemfontein Celtic do. But because it is widely liked here I don’t have a problem with it. However, it can be used to bring weapons like knives into the stadium. So we have to reconsider its purpose going forward.”
While he promised to continue hauling clubs before the PSL disciplinary committee based on the misbehaviour of fans, Majavu cautioned individuals would now be prosecuted as well.
“You can’t have a situation where only the club is punished. Just with this case involving Chiefs, we are going to identify individuals based on video evidence and prosecute them. There’s merit to the argument that an individual might wear Chiefs colours and throw missiles on to the pitch, but that person might not necessarily be a Chiefs fan.”
In the last few years, Majavu has called Amakhosi to appear before his DC eight times, with the club having to pay costs amounting to R1,6-million. Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns have appeared five and six times respectively.
“In total these three clubs have paid R4-million in fines, but we still see incidents of misbehaviour.
“This shows fining a club is not a sufficient deterrent.
“I’m sick and tired of clubs being solely held responsible for the behaviour of spectators.”
Majavu conceded the PSL rules do not forbid fans from bringing bread and cabbage into the stadium, but these have often – as seen in the Chiefs’ case – been used as missiles.
“If we have to revisit our rules on these items, so be it,” Majavu said.
Introduced into domestic football a decade ago, the vuvuzela proved a popular instrument during the World Cup in June, but Fifa did warn fans they would consider banning it from games if it was used as a missile.
The loud plastic trumpet is banned at several tournaments around the world, including the Uefa Champions League and the Euro championship qualifiers. - The Star