Volunteers Provide Football Commentary to Help the Blind in Germany

Published May 21st, 2018 - 09:52 GMT
(AFP/ File Photo)
(AFP/ File Photo)
The referee blows his whistle announcing the qualification of Magdeburg club to the second division of the German football league, after beating Fortuna Colon 2-0. The cheers fill up the stadium, and the fans jump in the field to celebrate their victory.

"Nothing can stop them now," says commentator Patrick Riben. "The game is over and the fans are invading the stadium!"

Repin's mission is to provide the blind and visually impaired fans with a live commentary on the cheerful and frustrating scenes in the game. He is joined by Torsten Kollhorn, Steven Lochner, Jonas Juncker, Martin Lishelt and Jerome Hack, who all volunteered to work as unpaid commentators on the third division of the German football league- Bundesliga.

The volunteers switch turns to comment on the game via a loudspeaker, and their comments are being delivered to the fans around the stadium through individual speakers.

In the Bundesliga’s higher divisions, German football clubs have to pay for commentators, however, for the third division, the commentary is assigned to full-time volunteers.

Commentators must inform listeners of everything going on, whether inside the green rectangle or on the audience stands. According to the German news agency, the Magdeburg Club has a good reputation regarding the care it dedicates for people with disabilities. A few fans attended the club's first days in the regional league, which received a limited coverage from the media.

However, when a special call was made for wheelchair users, many have become enthusiastic fans. For the qualifying match, various donors paid for the tickets of 3,000 people with special needs. "It's the first time (in the history) of German football," says Gerald Altmann, who organizes the event.

Twenty blind and visually impaired fans were able to listen to the commentary. Among them is Henning Krause, who has been a fan of the club since it was part of the former communist East Germany, more than 25 years ago.
This article has been adapted from its original source.

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