#420657 - 20th Jul 20104:57pmPrem clubs ban vuvuzelas
Horns pose safety risk, say Premier League clubs
Arsenal, Tottenham, Birmingham and West Ham have all banned controversial vuvuzelas from their stadiums this season.
The horns - a plastic instrument played at matches in South Africa - provided the backdrop to the World Cup finals this summer, causing irritation amongst players and supporters.
The cacophony often drowned out the chants of the crowds during games, leading to some English clubs fearing they would diminish the traditional atmosphere at their grounds.
The clubs have moved to ban the horn ahead of the new campaign - claiming they posed a safety risk as well as ruining the matchday ambience.
A statement from Spurs, who play at White Hart Lane, read: "We are concerned that the presence of the instruments within the stadium pose unnecessary risks to public safety and could impact on the ability of all supporters to hear any emergency safety announcements."
"We are very proud of the fantastic atmosphere that our supporters produce organically at White Hart Lane and we are all very much looking forward to this continuing into the forthcoming season."
North London rivals Arsenal also moved quickly to ban the vuvuzela, also citing safety reasons.
The Gunners said in a statement: "Further to their hugely debated involvement at the World Cup Finals in South Africa, Arsenal Football Club has decided to forbid the use of vuvuzelas within Emirates Stadium with immediate effect.
"This decision has been taken to ensure the enjoyment and safety of supporters on matchdays, which is of paramount importance to the club."
Birmingham said vuvuzelas had been abolished following feedback from their supporters and claimed other Premier League sides would soon follow suit.
"The club took into account feedback from both supporters and relevant bodies such as the Safety and Advisory Committee and have made the decision on health and safety grounds," said a statement on the club's official website.
"An overwhelming majority of Blues supporters said they didn't want vuvuzelas to be allowed at St Andrews."
West Ham later added confirmation that they too were banning the vuvuzela for similar reasons, but added that the horn could also be used as a weapon.
A West Ham club statement said: "Under the current health and safety regulations at the stadium, which already disallows musical bands, we would not allow them (vuvuzelas) into the stadium as they could be considered a weapon and could also be considered to be an annoyance to others.
"The health and safety regulation that all of this comes under is already in place. The club wish at all times to ensure that all supporters are allowed to enjoy the game they are watching and prides itself on the passionate, loud and robust support from our fans at all matches at Upton Park."
The ban will spark debate about the atmosphere in Premier League stadiums. Vuvuzelas were welcomed by some during the World Cup, saying they represented the culture of the host nation.
However, they were promptly banned by other sports, with this summer's Wimbledon tennis championships marked as a strictly vuvuzela-free zone.
Other top flight outfits are believed to be considering outlawing the instrument but fellow Premier League outfit Blackpool denied they would welcome vuvuzelas.
Suggestions had been put forward that the vuvuzela would help intimidate visitors to the Seasiders' Bloomfield Road ground following their promotion from the Championship.
Ian Holloway's team are widely expected to struggle following their unexpected arrival in the promised land of English football and the horns were believed to be a fear-inducing device.
But Blackpool have dismissed such reports, saying they had more important matters to deal with ahead of the new campaign.
The Lancashire outfit currently only have three stands and are hastily assembling a new East Stand which would increase capacity to 16,900 for home fixtures.
And with the clock running down on their first game as hosts, the vuvuzela is a matter still yet to be resolved.
The club said any ban would involve a consultation with fans. A spokesman said: "We haven't really given any full consideration to vuvuzelas at the moment.
"We've had plenty of other things occupying the mind with a debut season in the Barclays Premier League to prepare for. Any decision will be taken in due course and in consultation with relevant supporter groups."
A statement added that the club's previous assertion they are keen to ensure the atmosphere is better than ever "does not necessarily mean that vuvuzelas will be permitted".