Wed, Sep 21, 2011 - Page 20 News List

RUGBY WORLD CUP: Ban on bagpipes causes fury among Scottish fans


A Scottish band plays bagpipes before the World Cup match between Scotland and Georgia in Invercargill, New Zealand, last Wednesday.

Photo: AFP

Scottish fans have urged Rugby World Cup organizers to lift a ban on bagpipes at stadiums in New Zealand, accusing overzealous officials of ruining the tournament’s atmosphere.

Scotland supporter Matt Strachan launched a Facebook page to overturn the ban, after being told by police that he would be ejected from match venues if he played the pipes he brought with him from Aberdeenshire.

“After spending considerable money getting to New Zealand to support my country, I was shocked to hear bagpipes were not allowed in the stadiums,” he told the Scotsman newspaper.

“I’ve played the pipes in most of the UK stadiums and also in France, during the last World Cup, and they have always been gratefully received,” he said.

Tournament organizers have a long list of items banned from stadiums, such as umbrellas, vuvuzelas, gang insignia, flagpoles longer than 80cm and, somewhat bizarrely, car parts. Musical instruments are among the prohibited items, explaining the bagpipe ban.

Strachan said he was advocating “responsible” bagpipe playing and did not want to drown out entire games in a monotonous drone, as the vuvuzelas did at last year’s soccer World Cup in South Africa.

He denied that the pipes were a distraction to players during games.

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