Visually-Impaired Fan Recounts Experience with HBKU’s Commentary Service

Visually-Impaired Fan Recounts Experience with HBKU’s Commentary Service

08 Dec 2022

HBKU’s Translation and Interpreting Institute teams up with CAFE to deliver inclusive football commentary service.

Visually-Impaired Fan Recounts Experience with HBKU’s Commentary Service

An audio-descriptive commentary (ADC) service being delivered in Arabic and English at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022TM could enhance the tournament experience of blind and visually impaired fans and help to ensure an accessible, inclusive event. Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU)’s Translation and Interpreting Institute (TII) partnered with the Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE) to implement the high-quality ADC service during the FIFA World Cup. 

The latest in a series of similar offerings, the inclusive commentary service is now enabling partially sighted and blind people to follow live matches inside the stadium alongside their fellow supporters. More successfully, participants in training programs delivered by CAFE and TII (part of HBKU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences) have delivered Arabic commentary at several sporting events in Qatar, including the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup and Street Child World Cup 2022. 

Fahd Al-Hajri, a football fan with a visual impairment, has been attending the World Cup matches. He said: “The audio-descriptive commentary is the best and most useful service. In the past, blind and visually impaired fans used to sit in a specific area in the stadium. Now we can sit anywhere in the stadium and enjoy the exciting atmosphere of the match.”

The commentary’s mix of audio descriptive detail allows Al-Hajri to follow the action through a running, play-by-play description of the action on the field and immerse himself in the adrenaline-charged stadium atmosphere while listening to the game independently using the FIFA Interpreting application. 

He added: “Whereas the TV commentary deviates a lot from the events happening on the pitch, the audio-descriptive commentary describes the action as it unfolds. I attended more than five matches so far. The most fun was the match played by the French national team. Lucky for me, my favorite player, Kylian Mbappe, scored a goal, and it was an indescribable feeling. Another one of the most beautiful moments was listening to the commentary of the match between Saudi Arabia and Argentina. I really enjoyed it. If it was up to me, I would attend every single match.”

While the ADC service significantly enhances the match day experience for football fans like Fahad, it also contributes to Qatar’s vision for ensuring an accessible environment at the FIFA World Cup 2022 and future sporting events.

For more information on the work and programs of the Translation and Interpreting Institute, please visit