Outcry over bagpipe ban

2011-09-22 08:48

Wellington - Pressure is mounting on Rugby World Cup organisers to relax a ban on musical instruments at venues which has prevented bagpipes from being played at Scotland's matches.

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An online poll conducted by New Zealand's state television network on Wednesday night attracted more than 16 000 responses, of which 71 percent called for the ban to be rescinded.

Scotland's Sports Minister Shona Robinson has written to World Cup organisers asking for bagpipes to be removed from the list of banned items. And opposition lawmakers in New Zealand are pressing for a rule change, saying the ban makes Kiwis look like "kiltjoys."

Scotland faces a match against Argentina on Sunday which could determine whether it reaches the Cup quarter-finals, but may have to play without the skirl of the pipes, which has stirred Scottish hearts for centuries.

Many New Zealanders claim Scottish heritage including All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, who plays the bagpipes. That affinity with Scottish tradition has led to an outpouring of support for a relaxation of the bagpipes ban.

Tim Shadbolt, the mayor of the South Island city of Invercargill which hosted Scotland's first two World Cup matches, told Television New Zealand he believed the ban should be overturned.

"We here in Invercargill we are very proud of our Scottish heritage so we're coming out to bat for them," Shadbolt said. "It is not some gimmick, but a serious part of Scotland's culture."

Scottish National Party parliamentarian Jim Eadie told Scottish Television that the band should be rescinded for cultural reasons.

"As the entire rugby world shows its respect for the traditions of the All Blacks and their haka (Maori challenge) at the start of every game, it's only fair Scottish fans can showcase Scotland with their bagpipes," he said.

"There are many disappointed fans that have traveled to the other side of the world with their bagpipes only to be told they can't use them in stadiums."

One such fan is Matthew Strachan, a doctor from Aberdeenshire, who traveled to New Zealand with his bagpipes only to be told they couldn't be played in World Cup stadiums.

"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," Strachan said. "Why then after many sporting years have the World Cup organisers decided against having them in stadiums?"

Scotland assistant coach Duncan Hodge said on Wednesday the Scottish players are disappointed at the ban.

"I think the Scots would be a bit gutted if they were (banned)," Hodge said. "The guys would rather have bagpipes than not, put it that way.

"When you arrive at the ground and are warming up, you quite like to hear the sound of bagpipes. The Argentineans I'd imagine would have all kinds of support, so it would be nice to cancel that out with a few bagpipes."

Rugby World Cup spokesperson Mike Jaspers said bagpipes were not specifically banned from stadiums but rules outlawed items such as drums and vuvuzelas which might spoil fans' enjoyment of games.

He said he was not aware of any cases where a fan carrying bagpipes had been refused entry to a Cup match.


  • John - 2011-09-22 09:02

    The Bagpipes to the Scots is like the Haka is to the Maori. Let someone suggest the Hake be banned.

      flowing river - 2011-09-22 09:42

      @rene... Maybe rugby shud adopt the vuvu as well......are we not all South African!

  • Chris L - 2011-09-22 09:12

    If they can have their bagpipes, then we can have out Vuvuzelas!! Let's see who can make the most noise!

      René Müller - 2011-09-22 09:33

      @Chris, Vuvuzelas are alien to rugby and belongs to Soccer!!! Sorry but you cannot compare the Vuvu to Bagpipes. It's more like the Scots without Bagpipes = a Braai without meat - the two goes hand in hand!!

      James121 - 2011-09-22 10:04

      Vuvuzelas are not musical instruments, affect hearing and should remain banned.

  • Anneleen - 2011-09-22 09:23

    The "Oxford History of Music" makes mention of the first documented bagpipe being found on a Hittite slab at Eyuk in the Middle East. This sculptured bagpipe has been dated to 1000 BC. (wikipedia)...would be sad to ban an instrument with such a rich history.

      Kailif - 2011-09-22 10:51

      They didn't ban the instrument, just the noise :)

      Anneleen - 2011-09-22 10:58

      @Kailif...thanks for the correction! My error i am blaming on suffering from a severe bout of Bok-fever...

  • Bob - 2011-09-22 09:26

    I don't understand the problem, they are not going to go out and destroy every bagpipe in the world they are just not allowed inside the stadium. Would you like to sit next to someone playing on a bagpipe throughout the whole game?

      jabski - 2011-09-22 09:34

      for once bob i agree with you. went to a wedding in bryanston last week where we had to endure the sounds of a bagpipe all day. i think i would rather listen to the ex wife. ban them for good!!

  • Ross - 2011-09-22 09:40

    They banned the monotone vuvuzela and now they want to be politically correct.

  • Zambezi - 2011-09-22 10:07

    @ Flowing River............ The Vuvu is the most horrible thing ever invented. I don't think it was invented, just molded from a pile oh SH1T!!!!!

      Zambezi - 2011-09-22 11:42

      Unbelievable, I got a "thumbs down"!!! Somebody actually likes the vuvzela.........? WOW!!

  • anna - 2011-09-22 10:15

    what is this? 1348?

  • Kailif - 2011-09-22 10:32

    Bagpipes are horrible to listen to and probably as damaging to one's hearing as sound originating from a vuvuzela. I, for one, do not want to be in a rugby stadium filled with blaring bagpipes. The haka lasts for about a minute, if that long. Bagpipes for 80 minutes, plus the break between halves? No thanks. Ban it and keep it banned. If the Scots want to go to a music show then they shouldn't come to a rugby game.

      Dazbo - 2011-09-22 10:54

      No one is suggesting that the pipes are played throughout the match !!! The idea is that the pipes are heard before the match, during the half time interval and after the match. Flower of Scotland should be sung to the skirl of the pipes and not to some wishy washy chior !! The song tells the story of Scotland's fight against the English oppressor and the battles that ensued to secure freedom from that oppression. There has never been a problem with the pipes being played in any other country including SA in fact feedback from all supporters in 1995 was extremely positive concerning the pipes and the Scottish national anthem.

      Dazbo - 2011-09-22 10:57

      Sorry meant Choir...

      Enigma - 2011-09-22 11:29

      @Kailif. If you cannot appreciate.. Let's forget the "appreciate". If you do not have respect for the heritage and culture of others don't expect them to respect yours. Does that make sense? Read Dazbo's comment. He has obviously attended rugby games where the pipes were played and most people enjoyed it thoroughly! I have had the honour and certainly enjoyed it.

      Dazbo - 2011-09-22 12:40

      @Enigma. Thanks mate....Really appreciated your input...You're obviously a like minded rugby fan. Cheers.

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