Partially sighted and blind fans were able to tune into live audio-descriptive commentary at a recent Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-Germain and AS Monaco.

Audio-descriptive commentary was introduced into French football stadiums at UEFA EURO 2016, when the service was made available at all matches during the Finals.

CAFE delivered the official UEFA EURO 2016 Respect Access for All project, which included training local media and broadcast students to deliver audio-descriptive commentary.

After UEFA EURO 2016, the audio-descriptive commentary equipment was donated to the host stadia to continue to provide the service in legacy of the Finals.

Two of the commentators trained during the UEFA EURO 2016 Respect Access for All project, Yanis Bacha and Hamza Rahmani, provided the service at Sunday's match which finished in a 1-1 draw.

CAFE Managing Director Joanna Deagle said, “Many congratulations to everyone involved in making this happen in Lille. This is a tremendous legacy of UEFA EURO 2016 and will result in many more partially sighted and blind fans being able to enjoy an inclusive experience”.

CAFE also spoke with the audio-descriptive commentators after the match about their experiences.

Hamza said, "I had the opportunity to contribute to an exceptional UEFA EURO 2016 which was even better as it took place at home. The opportunity to develop an inclusive commentary style to to improve the experience of disabled fans excited me. I am delighted to continue the legacy left by UEFA EURO 2016. The fact that the service continues to be available in France, and in Ligue 1 in particular, is absolutely fantastic".

Yanis added, "I was really proud to participate in the audio-descriptive commentary project during UEFA EURO 2016, and a big thanks to CAFE, Charly Simo and Jean-Marc Streel. As a disabled person, it was an honour and a pleasure to hear and pass on my passion for this sport to partially sighted and blind people. Seeing their faces, filled with joy after the matches, is touching and makes us realise that this is why we do this job. It was my duty for me to perpetuate this beautiful action".

Yanis and Hamza will again provide audio-descriptive commentary on 7 February at Parc des Princes.


What is audio-descriptive commentary?

Audio-descriptive commentary is a dedicated matchday service for partially sighted and blind spectators, though it is also enjoyed by many non-disabled people.

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 audio-descriptive commentator describes the on-pitch action rather than talking about statistics or tactics or providing lengthy summaries of previous action.

For further information about audio-descriptive commentary, or if you are interested in implementing the service at your club or venue, please email CAFE at [email protected].

A version of this article is also available in Russian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, French and Spanish.

Published 03/02/2017