Vuvuzela ban? In soccer? Say it ain’t so!


This is all so ironic, Alanis Morrisette really should be singing about it.

Seems that vuvuzelas may soon be banned from the very place that made these seemingly benign plastic pieces so famous – or infamous, depending on how you look at the controversial noise makers.

But that’s not really the ironic part. Not the most delicious slice of irony pie, at least.

The vuvuzelas have long been part of the sport – just not globally renowned. Even here in little ol’ U.S.A., the joyful tooted on vuvuzelas in and around the 1994 World Cup. And the goofy, highly distinct sound echoed around the grounds in MLS early years – before a bunch of killjoys had them banned in most places. You know, back in the days when “family friendly” was de rigueur in MLS marketing circles.

(This was always the subject of major tension between myself and soccer-loving pals. I always said they added to atmosphere around MLS grounds back in those infant years, or what I like to call “The Carlos Valderrama days.”  My friends always countered: “That’s because you’re in the press box, Davis, not out here with some kid blowing that thing in your ear!” They probably had a point.)

At any rate, the “vuvuzela” became a bigger player in the game’s global lexicon in 2010, when they became so much of the story of World Cup 2010.

Now, turns out that South Africa’s league may ban vuvuzelas,  but not for their ornery ability cause a ruckus. Rather, they may get the red card due to potential use as weapons! How about that for a zig when you expected a zag!

While officials in that country’s Premier Soccer League have not banned the, uh, humming instruments of potential death, it is among a list of items being considered for addition to the banned list.

What PSL general manager Derek Blanckensee had to say about it, from the Reuters story linked above: “Our rules ban all dangerous weapons from matches. If the vuvuzela is to become a dangerous weapon then we will look into this.”

Mourinho “working like never before” to turn Chelsea around

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Jose Mourinho got the dreaded much-needed vote of confidence from Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich last weekend, seemingly giving the Portuguese manager a temporary stay of execution despite the Blues’ worst start to a season in 37 years.

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Speaking this week, Mourinho has revealed that while he’s thankful to have been kept on at the club for which he regularly professes his love, he still thinks it was no-brainer for Abramovich. In other words, Mourinho’s not backing down from his incredible, seven-minute rant to one question following Saturday’s defeat to Southampton.

Mourinho, on what he’s doing to turn Chelsea around — quotes from the Guardian:

“It shows the confidence of Abramovich in the manager who has won three Premier League titles with this club. I thank him and I keep working.

“What’s going on? I do not know. The results with Chelsea at the moment have been really bad. I cannot hide that reality, and I don’t want to. And I struggle to find an explanation. But I assure you: I’m working like never before and we will come out of this. And there is also the Champions League that we will not neglect, for certain.”

What did you expect from Mourinho? Well, you know, I should probably be fired, but thanks to Mr. Abramovich for not realizing this and keeping me employed? It’s simultaneously interesting and the least surprising thing ever, though, that Mourinho claims to not know what’s wrong with Chelsea at the moment. Of course he has a theory (or five), and of course he’s “working like never before” to correct it.

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The most fascinating thing about Chelsea’s sluggish start to the season is to see, hear and read Mourinho speaking from a position of powerlessness. Always the clever one, the one dictating where the discussion goes, the one in charge of every press interaction, Saturday’s rant felt like watching a desperate Mourinho grasping for anything by which to pull himself back up.

Reports link Guardiola with Manchester City summer move

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There are claims out of Spain that Manchester City has a verbal agreement to bring Pep Guardiola to town when his Bayern Munich contract expires in June.

Don’t expect comment from Guardiola, who bristles when discussing his future. In the past he’s hinted he might not be the right man for the Bavarian side, but has lamented any questions about clubs other than Bayern.

Now Mundo Deportivo writer Francesc Aguilar says there’s a secret agreement between Guardiola and Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain to reunite at the Etihad Stadium this summer.

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Both Barcelona buffs and former Spanish internationals, Begiristain was Barca’s director of football when Guardiola took over for Frank Rjikaard in 2008.

Manuel Pellegrini signed a contract extension this summer and has led the club to a Premier League title, though the club has struggled in European competition. For what it’s worth, the Manchester Evening News got rumor reaction from Sergio Aguero:

On the latest Guardiola rumour, Kun said: “It has been talked about a lot. I don’t know him, but he’s a great manager and it’s wonderful to have the best managers train you.”

But he also added: “I’m very good with Manuel Pellegrini, we talk a lot. I’m happy in the team and with him, but the club will be the one who chooses who comes in.”

In other words, “I’m really good, and they pay me well enough that I’m prepared to play for any big name that arrives.”

It’s a story to keep up with, even as it intrudes on the seasons of two big, rich European clubs.