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FIFA designs special services for disabled people

MUMBAI: Making sure that the football matches and updates are available to all, FIFA has designed special services for disabled people.

In order to enhance the experience of attending matches for partially-sighted and blind fans, FIFA and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) are providing a pioneering audio match commentary service in four stadiums at the FIFA World Cup.

FIFA president Joseph S. Blatter said, “Football is a universal sport and it must be accessible to everyone. We are therefore delighted to be offering these services for disabled fans.”

The services will enable them to enjoy the full FIFA World Cup experience, as the commentary will be similar to the radio commentary, but with a greater emphasis on describing the atmosphere within the stadium.

The specially trained commentators will provide additional information about all the significant visual details inside the venue, depicting the body language and the facial expressions of the main protagonists in words, as well as the team movements, kit descriptions, the colours on view and other aspects to fully transmit the spectacle and the atmosphere in the stadium.

Audio-descriptive commentary will be available to all ticketholders but particularly blind and partially sighted fans attending FIFA World Cup matches in Belo Horizonte (103.3 FM), Brasilia (98.3 FM), Rio de Janeiro (88.9 FM) and Sao Paulo (88.7 FM). The commentary is free for all users and will be conducted in Portuguese.

The only condition is that fans should bring their own headphones and a personal, small, portable FM radio or smartphone with FM receiver and tune in 10 minutes before kick-off to the respective frequency. They should ensure that any device they use complies with the Stadium Code of Conduct and in particular section 4 on prohibited items.

One per cent of tickets for 2014 FIFA World Cup matches have been made available for disabled spectators, who have the option of requesting a complimentary ticket for a companion to assist and accompany them during the match.

The stadiums too have special facilities like accessible seating, toilets and walkways, separate entrances into the stadiums and an extra wheelchair service offered by LOC Spectator Services.

The fan experience also includes dedicated services for blind and deaf fans outside of the stadium, with specially designed services on FIFA.com. All articles on the official website can be listened to by clicking on the sign on the top left-hand side of the article.

In addition, video reports from all 64 matches of the World Cup will be broadcast in international sign on FIFA.com, enabling hard of hearing and deaf people across the globe to receive the same information as non-disabled people.

International Sign is an international auxiliary language used at international meetings such as the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) Congress and events such as the Deaflympics. The WFD represents approximately 70 million deaf people worldwide, which assists in making sign language available to deaf people, especially regarding matters of education and information.

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