An audio-descriptive commentary project which started in San Marino two years ago will reach its zenith at the EURO 2020 final, helping blind and partially sighted match-going fans enjoy the game.
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Ahead of the UEFA EURO 2020 final, we have been hearing from national associations from around Europe on how they are using revenue from the competition to back football projects that unite communities and break down barriers to playing.
One of the projects started in San Marino two years ago and has been such a success that it will play a role at the Wembley final. To find out more, we spoke to Andrea Zoppis, international projects officer and supporters' liaison officer at the San Marino Football Federation (FSGC).
What's the project called?
"San Marino open and green."
How does the project work?
"The aim of the project is to make our national stadium accessible to all types of disabled supporters. As a part of that, with help from UEFA's partner CAFE, we organised an audio-descriptive commentary (ADC) training course ahead of the Under-21 European Championship in 2019. ADC helps partially sighted and blind match-going fans with a detailed description of what's happening on the pitch." (Find out more on ADC here)
Who took part in the course?
"Attendees from San Marino included journalists and FSGC employees. In addition, the disability access officer from AC Milan attended day two of the seminar to find about more about the service and training required."
How has it been implemented?
"It had an immediate impact at the first ever U21 finals game hosted in San Marino, with ADC available for the Croatia vs Romania fixture played on 18 June 2019.
"We provide the service for all San Marino's home matches and have received requests from Italian clubs to help them do the same. Thanks to this service, partially sighted and blind fans have enjoyed a much-improved matchday experience."
EURO revenue helped get this project off the ground. Has it also ensured that ADC has been available during the tournament itself?
"Yes, CAFE and UEFA asked us to provide ADC for all matches played in Rome during EURO 2020. Our commentators (there are three of us) were trained two years ago, and have the best experience."
"What is more, with Italy being in the final, we have been asked to deliver ADC at Wembley, so we'll be there for the biggest game in European football!!"