BERNE (Reuters) - Vuvuzelas have been kicked out of European competitions after UEFA said that the controversial plastic trumpets drowned out supporters and detracted from the emotion of the game.
The plastic horns became a hallmark of the World Cup in South Africa, producing a monotonous droning sound, often likened to a swarm of bees, which provided a backdrop for every match.
But they will not be allowed in stadiums in UEFA competitions such as the Champions League, Europa League and Euro 2012 qualifiers after UEFA's ruling Wednesday.
"European football's governing body has informed its 53 member associations that it has taken the move for reasons related to Europe's football culture and tradition, saying that the atmosphere at matches would be changed by the sound of the vuvuzela," said UEFA in a statement.
"The World Cup was characterized by the vuvuzela's widespread and permanent use in the stands," it added.
"In the specific context of South Africa, the vuvuzela adds a touch of local flavor and folklore, but UEFA feels that the instrument's widespread use would not be appropriate in Europe, where a continuous loud background noise would be emphasized."
The statement then continued with a clear criticism of the controversial instrument.
"The magic of football consists of the two-way exchange of emotions between the pitch and the stands, where the public can transmit a full range of feelings to the players.
"However, UEFA is of the view that the vuvuzelas would completely change the atmosphere, drowning supporter emotions and detracting from the experience of the game.
"To avoid the risk of these negative effects in the stadiums where UEFA competitions are played and to protect the culture and tradition of football in Europe -- singing, chanting etc -- UEFA has decided with immediate effect that vuvuzelas will not be allowed in the stadiums where UEFA competitions matches are played."
The ruling appears academic as the vuvuzelas have shown almost no sign of catching on in Europe in the opening weeks of the new season.
The UEFA ruling is the latest development in an apparent backlash against the vuvuzela, although the word itself last month earned a place in the Oxford Dictionary of English.
Several English Premier League clubs banned the horns in July on safety grounds while they have also been barred from a number of rugby grounds in South Africa itself.
Olympic Games 2012 chief Sebastian Coe said he did not want them at the event in London.
They have also been banned from the current world basketball championship in Turkey on health grounds. FIBA, the sport's governing body, said it was too loud, especially in indoor arenas, and fans who flouted the ruling would be kicked out.
(Editing by Jon Bramley)