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Giving blind football fans a better service


CAFE's Audio-descriptive Commentary Network and Training Programme aims to give organisations the tools to deliver audio-described commentary and so expand this service for blind and partially-sighted fans.

How can blind fans experience football?

CAFE has launched a training programme to expand audio-described commentary, a vital service for blind and partially-sighted matchgoing fans.

Most partially sighted and blind people do not attend football matches or live events where there is no audio-described commentary service. As such, they may be excluded from many cultural activities that most of us would take for granted. Live audio-described commentary during football matches can have a life-changing effect for many partially sighted and blind fans.

UEFA supports CAFE, the Centre for Access to Football in Europe, in promoting an inclusive solution that allows partially sighted and blind fans, as well as all other supporters, to tune into audio-descriptive commentary via a smartphone or personal radio during a live match.

A Legia fan enjoys audio-described commentary
A Legia fan enjoys audio-described commentary©Legia Warszawa

The specially trained commentators provide additional narration that describes all significant visual information such as body language, facial expressions, scenery, action, clothing, colours and anything else that is important to conveying the image, venue, match, event or surrounding ambience. During the game, the commentator also describes the on-pitch action rather than talking about statistics or tactics or giving lengthy summaries of previous action.

CAFE has now launched an expert Audio-descriptive Commentary Network and Training Programme for national football associations, leagues, clubs and venues across Europe. This programme supplies them with all the tools in order to deliver audio-described commentary during matches.

The commentators describe the action at a game
The commentators describe the action at a game©Getty Images

The network comprises a number of expert ADC trainers, who offer training in English, French, German and Ukrainian. The training programme outlines the level of training required for trainee commentators, and also provides technical broadcasting guidance. The programme can be downloaded in English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Russian and Swedish.

CAFE has found that many fans that are not partially sighted or blind enjoy tuning into audio-descriptive commentary and feel it enhances their overall matchday experience. Due to its relative ease and low-cost in implementing, ADC is becoming an increasingly popular service at football stadiums. CAFE intends to support the growth of this service across Europe and beyond.

Many thanks to Tottenham Hotspur FC for their help and assistance in producing this content. Tottenham have offered Audio Descriptive Commentary from RNIB-trained practitioners for their blind and partially-sighted fans for the past six years.