Zero Project 2021/2022
The Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE) is an NGO based in the United Kingdom dedicated to making the live sport experience accessible to all disabled spectators. The ADC Programme, an audio descriptive commentary programme, was developed in 2018 especially but not only for blind and partially sighted fans in stadiums. Spectators can tune into an FM radio channel and enjoy the game alongside a commentator giving descriptions. As of 2021, CAFE has trained more than 125 commentators across 22 countries globally.
Live football matches are often not inclusive for blind or partially sighted fans because there is no audio description available.
CAFE trains commentators to provide audio-descriptive commentary (ADC) in cities hosting UEFA and FIFA matches where such a service is not yet available or does not meet required standards.
During the match, ADC is provided in local languages (and English where possible). The ADC broadcast is available throughout the entire stadium via an FM radio frequency, allowing fans to tune in from anywhere on their own devices or headsets that are offered by the venue. User surveys after each final game provide input for future improvements, such as the availability of headsets or the quality of technical equipment supplied.
CAFE first provided ADC training before UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine. Based on this experience, and subsequent works at major tournaments in Brazil and France, the programme was launched in 2018. The ADC trainings for UEFA are renewed every four years before each UEFA EURO tournament and five times a year prior to every UEFA Club competition final. The NGO has also created a network of expert ADC trainers to expand the service beyond UEFA and FIFA tournaments.
Since the ADC Programme was formed, CAFE has trained over 125 football enthusiasts in 22 countries in how to provide ADC at a live match. Trainees that meet CAFE’s high standards become CAFE-certified audio-descriptive commentators, and will be considered for high-profile matches.
Most partially sighted and blind people will choose not to attend live matches where ADC is not available. As football is the world’s most popular sport, many of the 250 million partially sighted and blind people living globally will greatly benefit from the wider availability of ADC.
Through CAFE’s works with UEFA, ADC is now a requirement at every UEFA Champions League Final, Women’s Champions League Final, Europa League Final, Super Cup and Nations League Finals.
CAFE has commenced training for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in both Arabic and English. This is the first time that Arabic ADC has ever been available at live football matches.
CAFE’s aim is to harness the power of live sport to empower disabled people and improve access and inclusion through their everyday lives.
Live sport has a unique ability to change lives and create memories that will last a lifetime. By implementing a service such as ADC, the matchday experience becomes significantly more accessible to over 250 million partially sighted and blind people globally.
With ADC stadiums become more welcoming and inclusive, allowing disabled people to take their rightful places and enjoy the matchday experience alongside their fellow fans, friends and families.
CAFE aims to collaborate with sports clubs, venues and confederations across the globe over the coming years, to raise greater awareness of ADC and deliver high-quality training ADC training.
To achieve the continued growth of ADC, it is key that CAFE can train more people to become trainers themselves. This will enable training to take place in more languages and locations. Therefore CAFE needs to raise additional funds and/or sponsorship to support with the higher costs of train-the-trainer training.
CAFE is looking to develop a clear plan for optimising this growing project efficiently and effectively with pro-bono advisors.
CAFE aims to work with more disability NGOs and like-minded partners who can support them in understanding accessibility in areas outside of Europe, and in sports outside of football.
They are planning to establish partnerships in North and South America, Oceania, Asia and Africa, working together with partners to implement trainings using their local knowledge and CAFE’s expertise.
Working with local experts, NGOs and not-for-profit organisations, CAFE aims to gain a better understanding of the experiences of partially sighted and blind fans ahead of delivering ADC trainings in the local languages.
Training seminars are delivered with support from the host venues, clubs, leagues and national associations. A series of homework tasks follow, with support from an expert member of CAFE’s ADC Training Network. Trainers share feedback with CAFE, and the highest-quality commentators receive CAFE certification to deliver ADC at high-profile matches.
ADC trainings are coordinated centrally from the CAFE Head Office, with CAFE providing ongoing support for trainees, trainers and the host venues.
CAFE is keen to offer ADC training in countries we have not previously worked in, including USA, Canada and Mexico (hosts of the 2026 FIFA World Cup), Australia and New Zealand (hosts of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup) and across the globe. CAFE aims to identify and train more expert trainers, covering a wider geographical range and different languages.
Contact person: Michael Rice, firstname.lastname@example.org