This week saw the Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE) hosted a very successful UEFA EURO 2012 RESPECT INCLUSION – Football with No Limits Seminar in Poland.

The two-day event, held at the Olympic Centre in Warsaw, began with a welcome ceremony and press conference from key note speakers including Ewa Markowicz, Chair of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport, Council of Europe, who funded the event alongside UEFA, and Pedro Correia, Head of UEFA EURO 2012 Planning, Ticketing and Admission Services Operations.

The seminar, which was also attended by Pl 2012 and CAFE’s local partner Fundacja TUS, included a RESPECT INCLUSION project update and provided thirty volunteers with specialist training to deliver Audio Descriptive Commentary for local blind and partially sighted supporters both during the tournament and beyond.

CAFE’s Eastern European Development Officer, Elena Karpukhina and CAFE’s specialist trainer, Austrian Audio Descriptive Commentator Martin Zwischenberger, gave updates on the RESPECT INCLUSION project and what makes Audio Descriptive Commentary such a unique and valuable skill.

The gathered media took a strong interest in these topics and this ground breaking new service which will see Polish blind fans better able to enjoy football matches and other live events in the future as awareness for the UEFA EURO 2012 RESPECT INCLUSION project increases.

With the opening discussions drawing to a close, the intensive training of volunteers began. Several exercises were provided by Zwischenberger and his colleague Gregor Waltl, with a focus on building confidence as an audio descriptive commentator and developing an understanding on what additional information a blind or partially sighted supporter would need to know. The final session of the seminar saw the RESPECT INCLUSION ambassador, Darius Dziekanowski arrange a special trip for all the volunteers to visit the newly-built National Stadium in Warsaw. This included a tour of the media facilities, giving the trainees a real taste of what lies ahead during UEFA EURO 2012.

Dariusz said, “It was a real honour to attend this two-day seminar in Warsaw. There was a real enthusiasm amongst the trainees during the training and I was delighted to be able to take them to the new stadium. The RESPECT INCLUSION project lies very close to my heart and with UEFA EURO 2012 getting ever closer it is fantastic to see first-hand these special preparations which will ensure disabled fans are more included during the tournament.”

Representatives from CAFE’s Ukrainian implementing partner, the National Assembly of Disabled People, also attended the event as they will be hosting a similar seminar in Kiev in early April as part of the UEFA EURO 2012 RESPECT INCLUSION project in Ukraine.

To find out more about the RESPECT INCLUSION project, visit our dedicated website at

UEFA EURO 2012 Respect Inclusion – Football with No Limits
UEFA is working with CAFE (Centre for Access to Football in Europe) to manage three separate RESPECT Inclusion initiatives. Under the “Football with No Limits” initiative, access information will be provided to disabled fans and visitors by the means of a tailor-made guide. Through the “Showcase games” project run by Special Olympics in Poland and the National Sports Committee for Disabled People in Ukraine, disabled people will be given the opportunity to demonstrate their sports skills by competing in football matches before each quarter-final game. Funds for future inclusion initiatives will be raised through the UEFA EURO 2012 Tournament charity project, encouraging football supporters and other benefactors to donate money for upcoming projects, with UEFA paving the way by committing to donate €3,000 for each goal scored during the tournament.

The project will train local volunteers as audio-descriptive commentators so that partially sighted and blind fans can enjoy the match day and stadium ambience alongside their fellow fans during UEFA EURO 2012.

About CAFE
The Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE), funded by UEFA, has been established as a European wide charity (registered in the UK) with a purpose to achieve equal access to football. Using the special influence of football, CAFE aims to improve the lives of disabled people by promoting inclusivity and equality; enabling more disabled people to enjoy a football match as a problem-free experience; and because football embraces diversity in all its forms, raising disability awareness and the importance of good access more widely throughout the UEFA region.

About audio-descriptive commentary
Most partially sighted and blind people do not travel to 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 society would take for granted. To ensure better inclusion within football stadia, an audio-described commentary service should be provided for match-going partially sighted and blind fans. This may also assist hard of hearing and Deaf fans.

Live commentary can be provided in a number of different formats and by using various mediums. An easy way to consider audio-commentary is to think about how a commentator usually delivers information via the radio and TV. Both are different in that the listener of a radio programme relies completely on the description of an event or match whereas a TV viewer will usually pick up much of the information in a visual context alongside a commentary or dialogue.

The key to a good audio-description service is to ensure a good commentator. At a live event, an audio-described commentator will provide a dedicated commentary with additional information for people without a visual view of the match or stadium activities.

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. Their training should include an introduction to visual awareness followed by sessions on voice, technique, preparation and language.

In the context of a live football match, audio-descriptive commentary ensures that the partially sighted or blind fan (listener) has a complete understanding of the match he or she is attending and is able to more fully enjoy the match day experience alongside fellow fans.
To receive this dedicated service, a partially sighted or blind fan simply picks-up or tunes into the match day audio-described commentary via a headset (receiver) and the commentary is transmitted by the commentator (to the listener) via a transmitter that operates within the stadium bowl. The football club, stadium or venue should be prepared to provide this service. If you wish to consider this service at your venue please do contact CAFE for further advice.

The UEFA EURO 2012 Respect Inclusion – Football with No Limits project will train local volunteers as audio-descriptive commentators so that partially sighted and blind fans can enjoy the match day and stadium ambience alongside their fellow fans during UEFA EURO 2012.

For more information about the UEFA EURO 2012 Respect Inclusion project, please contact [email protected] or +44 (0)208 065 5108.

Published 19/03/2012