photo - caldwella/wikicommons
by Peter Gentle
One of the memories everyone has of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa is the distinctive sound of the vuvuzela, the plastic horn so enthusiastically blown by the home supporters. The Polish Solidarity trade union was so impressed by the monotone drone that it immediately put in a bulk order to liven up their protests against government policies, like raising the retirement age in Poland.
Well, what is good enough for Solidarity is not good enough for UEFA, the European football governing body, which has slapped a ban on vuvuzelas being taken into stadiums during Euro 2012, along with horns, trumpets and other things that make a noise when you blow them.
Vuvuzelas are among a long list of things that you must remember to leave behind in your hotel room before venturing into stadiums, or fans zones, in Warsaw, Poznan, Gdansk and Wroclaw in Poland and cities in Ukraine hosting matches.
The list, which you can find in the terms and conditions of purchasing tickets, reminds us that guns and knives will be confiscated, if you just happen to be tempted to try and smuggle in a rifle, or machete, or two.
In fact, UEFA's Ukrainian English language site says the list prohibits “any armour, or anything that could be used as armour”. So don't turn up looking like Richard the Lionheart: you won't get in.
And leave those professional looking cameras at home, as well – you won't get them passed the security guards.
If it's raining during games then forget about taking an umbrella - they are banned.
So are bicycles (?) and roller skates, large bags or rucksacks.
No narcotics, or “psychotropic substances” can be stashed into stadiums and fan zones.
No “laser pointers”.
And don't even think of bringing in any smoke bombs, flares or “illuminating shells" says the Ukrainian web site.
If you support Manchester United, or Legia Warszawa, then do not be tempted to bring along a Manchester United or Legia banner or flag – they will get confiscated if you do.
UEFA says that if you want to take a banner or flag of your national team, then check that it is not larger than two by one and a half meters. If it is, then you have to give the authorities at the stadium 24 hours notice.
In fact, no object, such as folding stools or containers larger than 25 by 25 by 25 cms will be allowed through the turnstiles.
Most of the above, apart from the vuvuzelas, can be attributed to health and safety concerns.
What can't be however is the ban on items bearing a logo of a product, except of those of the companies sponsoring Euro 2012.
No, I don't know either if Marks and Spencer has got a sponsorship deal with UEFA, so better check labels before turning up to what has become a highly corporate Euro 2012. It doesn't mention how large this logo has to be before getting banned, however.
Also banned are any materials which contain “racist, xenophobic, religious or political propaganda” including flags and banners with sexist, provocative of offensive information or images.
And the English language version of the Ukrainian UEFA web site says that no pets are allowed to be taken into stadiums, except guide or "war dogs ".
I hereby promise UEFA I will leave my war dog safely tied up, outside designated areas.
Apart from the above, and more besides, you can take into stadiums and fan zones at Euro 2012 whatever you like.