Audio-descriptive commentary at Stade de Lyon, a legacy of the FIFA Women’s World Cup

  • Stade de Lyon now offers audio descriptive commentary for blind and visually-impaired fans continuously

  • Initiative an example of the legacy left by the 2019 Women's World Cup

  • Technology available for free for all men's and women's games at stadium

Every FIFA tournament endeavours leaving social legacies in each host country and the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™ was no different.

At the end of 2019, Olympique Lyonnais officially completed the delivery of an audio descriptive commentary system for blind and visually-impaired supporters at the Stade de Lyon, the venue for the Women's World Cup final in 2019. The device is free of charge and allows the supporters to follow all the action in the stadium thanks to a voiceover text which is provided by commentators who describe the match events in great detail and the atmosphere in the stadium.

"During the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, audio-descriptive commentary was part of several initiatives being offered to make the matches accessible to all," FIFA Accessibility & Diversity Manager Hala El Ousta said, with live audio-descriptive commentary systems implemented successfully in Grenoble, Reims and Paris, too. "Over the past years, FIFA and the LOC have taken steps to ensure that infrastructure, ticketing and various services are in place to cater to the needs of disabled people and contribute to an inclusive event. We are proud to see this initiative being carried on as part of the legacy of such a tournament within the clubs’ stadiums."

The initiative was started by the OL Foundation in collaboration with ASA (All Service Access) commentators and ISCPA (Institut Superieur des Medias).

The first game it was officially implemented in was for Olympique Lyonnais's 2-1 win over Nice on 23 November, with members of the HandiSup Lyon supporters group and other subscribers already benefitting from the technology. The service is available for all men's and women's matches played at the Stade de Lyon.

All of this was possible thanks to the transmission and reception equipment that was left by the legacy programme created for the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019, with the company Marche a l'Onde setting up the transmission and radio frequency.

"Accessibilty was one of our main commitments for the tournament in France. We closely worked with host cities and clubs to understand their needs and find how we can act together to improve accessibility to the stadiums and the matches," said Delphine Benoit-Mayoux, former LOC Head of Sustainability.

"Olympique Lyonnais showed strong interest and desire to offer audio-descriptive commentary and to develop it after the event, that’s why the LOC and FIFA decided to invest into equipment for the FIFA Women's World Cup 2019 and the club. We are very happy to know that OL continue to provide this service to its fans, to invest time and money for making their matches more inclusive. It’s a real and concrete legacy of our event and we are very proud of it."

Fans hoping to benefit from this programme must register before attending a match, either by e-mailing or via an online form on the Stade de Lyon website.