Audio-descriptive commentary

Project details

Stadium Accessibility

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-descriptive commentary service should be provided for match-going partially sighted and blind fans. The service could also assist many other supporters in the stadium.

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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.

Additional narration that describes all significant visual information

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.

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.

Audio-descriptive commentary at every match

As part of the UEFA EURO 2012 Respect Inclusion – Football with No Limits project, CAFE provided audio-descriptive commentary at every match of the tournament for blind and partially sighted supporters inside the eight host stadiums. Audio-descriptive commentary was introduced to Poland and Ukraine, and due to the successful delivery of the service many clubs have now implemented it at their stadiums.

CAFE also provided audio-descriptive commentary at every match during UEFA EURO 2016 in France in all ten host venues. As part of the UEFA EURO 2016 Respect Access for All project, CAFE trained 30 volunteer media and broadcasting students to provide audio-descriptive commentary. The service was introduced to French football stadiums for the first time, and proved to be hugely popular throughout the Finals.

For further information on audio-descriptive commentary and for advice on how to implement the service at your stadium, please contact CAFE via email at, telephone +44 (0)20 8621 2405 or Skype cafe-football.

To download CAFE ‘Audio-Descriptive Commentary’ Leaflet, please click here.