10 June : 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, and trained commentators will report live on the action happening down on the pitch. In addition, each of these six stadiums will have 15 seats that will be allocated to their sighted guides who will accompany them, while specially trained volunteers will provide assistance within the stadiums. This is a premier in South Africa’s sporting landscape.
The initiative, launched by the Swiss National Association for the Blind (SNAB) and the South African National Council for the Blind (SANCB) and financially supported by FIFA, is aimed at making the tournament accessible to all. 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 .www.sancb.org.za.
“Football is a universal sport and it must be accessible to everyone. 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,” said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter.
The Institute of Advancement of Journalism was responsible for sourcing, training and coordinating the audio descriptors, while the 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 this 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