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Page last updated at 11:18 GMT, Tuesday, 22 June 2010 12:18 UK

Cup officials learn to cope with sound of vuvuzelas

Mike Mullarkey
Mullarkey is officiating at a World Cup for the first time in his career

Vuvuzela noise is now part of Fifa's training sessions for officials in South Africa, according to Devon-based assistant referee Mike Mullarkey.

Mullarkey made his World Cup debut in last week's Group H match between Spain and Switzerland.

He told BBC Devon: "When we're doing our training exercises Fifa are actually playing recorded sounds of vuvuzelas through the speakers.

"For three hours a day we're exposed to that sound which helps preparation."

Mullarkey continued: "So when it comes to the match situation it's an environment that we're very used to."

The Exeter resident is part of a three-strong English contingent of officials at the South Africa, alongside referee Howard Webb and fellow assistant Darren Cann.

When we're training they are playing recorded sounds of vuvuzelas through the speakers

Mike Mullarkey

The drone of vuvuzelas led to numerous complaints during the initial stages of the World Cup, although organisers swiftly ruled out banning the plastic horn.

Portugal winger Cristiano Ronaldo was one of the players who claimed the noise affects concentration, while some fans watching on television said they struggled to hear commentary.

But with exposure to the constant noise included in their training sessions, Mullarkey is hoping the English officials can rise to the occasion and be selected for further games as the tournament progresses.

He said: "If England got through to the semi-finals or final, clearly we couldn't be involved.

"But if England aren't there, there are many other factors, and many other experienced referees all vying for the ultimate accolade of being involved in the latter stages.

"So we're just concentrating on our job at the moment, which is successfully negotiating the next appointment that we receive."

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see also
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010
Cup chiefs rule out vuvuzela ban
14 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010

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