Bayer 04 Audio description

Project details

Country
Germany
Club
Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Year
1999
Topic
Disability

Bayer 04 Audio description

BlindAlthough it was not a completely new idea, Bayer 04 were the first Bundesliga club to offer services for the blind. The recently deceased head of the football section Kurt Vossen was inspired by a visit to the English Premier League club Manchester United. After working in close co-operation with the “Sehhunde” fan club, the services for the blind were launched at the 4-1 home win against Ulm at the BayArena on 15 October 1999.
Since that date, blind and visually impaired fans have had the opportunity to experience Werkself games in a dedicated section in the South Stand. In addition to soaking up the atmosphere, visually impaired fans can follow the game via a live match commentary. “I take my hat off to our blind fans ability to analyse games they’ve been to. You can’t tell that they haven’t seen a single second of the action,” declared Andreas “Paffi” Paffrath, the fan and disability liaison officer at Bayer 04.

Burak Yildirim and his commentary team haveto possess in-depth knowledge of football and  a certain degree of neutrality. Yildirim is the U11 coach at Bayer 04 and has been involved with the services for the blind since day one. He has continually kept up to speed by attending special training courses and thanks to the support of his colleagues. And the feedback from visually impaired fans has helped to improve the service.

There are at least ten seats in the South Stand available for the blind at each home game. This can be extended to cater for 20 fans. The seats are equipped with a standard connection to allow visually impaired supporters to hear the match commentary on their own or provided headsets. The section for the blind is nearly always sold out. Tickets can be obtained via the Bayer 04 hotline on 0049 (0)1805 040404.
This project has been imitated in Germany and beyond. One Werkself fan took the service to Argentina and installed it in Buenos Aires. “All the top-flight clubs in Germany except for Freiburg offer this service. Our medium term aim is to make sure it is available in all the Bundesliga and second division grounds and in well-attended third division stadiums.  It should become as commonplace as the facilities for wheelchair users,” said Regina Hillmann, Chair of the “Sehhunde” fan club.

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