On 6th of April, Metalist Kharkiv launched their new audio described commentary service during a match against Volyn Lutsk.

Metalist's Supporters’ Liaison Officer Anton Ivanov and CAFE's Project Coordinator in Ukraine Olena Zhyvaikina were invited to be commentators during this match, providing this specialised service for blind and partially sighted supporters in the stadium.

An audio described 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 will describe the on-pitch action rather than talking about statistics or tactics, or providing lengthy summaries of previous action. This service was first provided in Ukraine and Poland as part of CAFE's disability awareness project around UEFA EURO 2012.

Around 70 blind and partially sighted supporters were sitting in the Eastern and Western stands. Stadium staff helped them with the equipment, and fans who needed to could get special receivers from the club. All supporters were also able to hear the commentary using their own mobile phones.

Metalist is the first club in Ukraine which has implemented audio described commentary as a regular feature of matchdays. The game against Volyn was just the start – Metalist is now trying to attract more blind and partially sighted supporters to the stadium. A large promotion campaign dedicated to the audio described commentary is planned to take place before the 25th matchday: on that weekend the whole football Ukraine is involved in the CAFE Week of Action – Total Football, Total Access.

CAFE congratulates Metalist and its fans on this huge step towards better inclusion for all supporters!

A version of this article is also available in Ukrainian and Russian.

Published 10/04/2013