FIFA is providing a dedicated audio-descriptive commentary service at 2014 FIFA World Cup™ games played in the host cities of Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. The service has so far proved to be hugely popular, and is changing the lives of many partially sighted and blind people in Brazil.

One particular example of this is Daniel, a young football fan from Belo Horizonte. Daniel loves football and is a big supporter of the Brazilian national team. Daniel, with his father Anderson, have attended two 2014 FIFA World Cup™ matches in Belo Horizonte – Costa Rica vs England and the Round of 16 match between Brazil and Chile. Anderson has shared a video of their experiences at the latter match, which is absolutely worth watching. The video can be found at the bottom of this page.

Upon arriving at the stadium, Daniel’s joy and excitement is clear to see as he anticipates the match ahead.  He can’t wait to be inside the stadium, witnessing the match alongside his fellow fans by using the audio-descriptive commentary service. Daniel tunes into the service using a personal radio, and is able to celebrate David Luiz’s goal in real-time as the commentators keep him right up to date with events on and off the pitch.

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

With no winner after 120 minutes of play, the match enters a tense penalty shootout. The commentators continue to provide the service so that Daniel and all other listeners know exactly what is happening, as it happens. Daniel continues to wave his Brazilian flag as Neymar’s successful penalty puts Brazil on the brink of victory, and as Chile’s Gonzalo Jara hits the post the parties begin in the stands with Daniel savouring the moment.

The audio-descriptive commentary at the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ is being coordinated by the Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE) with its local partner Urece Esporte E Cultura. Urece Projects & Events Coordinator, International Relations Manager Gabriel Mayr said, “We are delighted that audio-descriptive commentary is being introduced to Brazil at the 2014 FIFA World Cup™. This service makes live football accessible to many, many fans who previously hadn’t ever attended matches inside stadiums. Daniel’s fantastic experience is a perfect example of how this service can make a real impact on disabled people’s lives and create memories that will last a lifetime”.

CAFE Managing Director Joyce Cook added, “This is yet another demonstration of the power that football has to make such a positive change in society. There is absolutely nothing like football to bring people from all different kinds of backgrounds together”.

Audio-descriptive commentary will continue to be provided at every 2014 FIFA World Cup™ match taking place in Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, and CAFE hopes that this is just the start for audio-descriptive commentary in Brazil. The ambition is that a real legacy is created from this project, and audio-descriptive commentary is introduced across many more sports stadiums and cultural events in Brazilian society.

Published 11/07/2014