World Cup live action for blind fans

9 June 2010

Blind and visually impaired fans will be able to enjoy a special live-match experience at the 2010 Fifa World Cup™ in South Africa. Six stadiums will each have 15 seats equipped with headphones, along with trained commentators reporting live on the action on the pitch.

In addition, each of these six stadiums will have 15 seats that will be allocated to the fans’ sighted guides, who will accompany them, while specially trained volunteers will provide assistance within the stadiums.

The initiative has been launched by the Swiss National Association for the Blind and the South African National Council for the Blind (SANCB), with financial supported from Fifa.

Fifa Partner Sony is providing the necessary transmitters that will allow people to receive match-day commentary in the stadiums free of charge.

The SANCB is ensuring that the tickets are fairly allocated, and only a very limited number of tickets are still available for 19 matches via

“Football is a universal sport and it must be accessible to everyone,” said Fifa president Sepp Blatter. We are therefore delighted to be able to make this unique live experience in the stadium also accessible to visually impaired and blind people.

“This project is another launching pad for South African sports, and will create a legacy with services and facilities at football grounds for visually impaired and blind South Africans.”

The Institute of Advancement of Journalism was responsible for sourcing, training and coordinating the audio descriptors, while Academy of Sound Engineering students will perform the technical audio functions that will be necessary to ensure that the audio descriptions are correctly transmitted to the visually impaired fans at the stadiums.

The stadiums offering the service are:

  • Johannesburg – Soccer City Stadium: 8 matches
  • Johannesburg – Ellis Park Stadium: 7 matches
  • Tshwane/Pretoria – Loftus Versfeld Stadium: 6 matches
  • Durban – Durban Stadium: 7 matches
  • Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth – Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium: 8 matches
  • Cape Town – Green Point Stadium: 8 matches