Tackling Colour Blindness In Sport (TACBIS)
Colour blindness is one of the world’s most common inherited conditions, affecting an estimated 300+ million people worldwide. To address and raise awareness on this issue, EFDN developed the “Tackling Colour Blindness In Sport (TACBIS)” programme which will start in January 2020.
Together with our programme partners Colour Blind Awareness, Oxford Brookes University, Randers FC and the National Football Associations of Iceland, Romania, and Portugal, EFDN will investigate the prevalence of colour blindness in football (fans and players), identify barriers to progression for colour blind players and coping mechanisms employed by colour blind players. Together with our project partners we aim to raise awareness for colour blindness in sport and society and promote surroundings that are colour blind friendly.
EFDN will start an awareness campaign amongst clubs to prevent kit clashes for colour blind people and share the gathered knowledge and practical solutions in a new EFDN Practitioners Guide. We encourage all our member clubs to take first steps like, for example, to make changes on the website to improve the accessibility for colour blind people.
Colour Blind Awareness Day 2020
This year, Colour Blind Awareness Day coincided with UEFA Nations League matches to be played during the first week of September. The partner FAs and clubs used the matches as opportunity to promote the cause. The Iceland v England and Portugal v Croatia matches on September 5; and the Belgium v Iceland, Denmark v England on September 8 fixtures were the focal point for campaign posts and activation.
This way, awareness of colour blindness was possible to be promoted on personal social media accounts, for example by Bruno Fernandes of Portugal who engaged 650,000 views with a single Instagram post on his personal account. The BBC article on the Colour Blind Awareness Day gathered over 1 million impressions whilst the UEFA article gained over half a million impressions. The hashtag TACBIS gained 2.75 million social media impressions and reach of 1.4 million on the day.
Quotes by experts and participants
Kathryn Albany-Ward, founder of Colour Blind Awareness and expert in the field, further explained the importance of raising awareness for stakeholders in the sporting industry.
“In the EU, close to 34 million people have CVD (colour vision deficiency) – and failure to acknowledge the difficulties they face in sport risks alienating them in significant numbers, meaning they are likely to turn off TV coverage and take to social media to vent their frustrations. So it’s in sport’s interests to resolve the issues. The good news is that implementing procedures to assist and protect those with colour blindness in sport is relatively simple. Much of the time, all that’s needed is a little goodwill and forward planning, and solutions can have positive benefits for teams, fans, sponsors and broadcasters.”
“The TACBIS partners have produced an animation to highlight the areas of football which can be impacted by colour blindness. We are also determined to prove the prevalence of colour blindness amongst football players, to identify the barriers to progression and the coping mechanisms employed by those affected. Colour Blind Awareness Day has been gaining momentum in the last few years, and we are excited to see it come to life this year in partnership with UEFA, the NAs and our TACBIS partners.”
Bruno Fernandes, an ambassador for the campaign, pledged his support for colourblind players and fans alike.
“Not being able to watch a UEFA Europa League or a Man. United match on TV in full colour, to help easily distinguish between teams, referee cards and coloured objects in the stands, seems almost unimaginable to me. None of my teammates has identified as colour blind but for sure there are many in football who may face a range of difficulties when playing or watching the game. That’s why it’s so important to raise awareness, provide greater information and make changes so that those who live with colour blindness don’t feel left out and experience the game to the fullest. Football is a universal language and everyone has the right to speak it clearly and confidently.”
Gylfi Sigurdsson, National team player for Iceland and Everton player, is also one of the campaign’s ambassadors, and shared his experience of learning about the impact of colour blindness in football.
“I was at Reading Academy for many years with another colour blind player who went on to play at a Premier League club. At the time we didn’t know Nick was colour blind and I never realised until now how much more challenging training would be for him if we used equipment he couldn’t tell apart. This must have made it much more difficult for him to earn a place in the squad at times.”