“There are a lot of people at our club who show great commitment to our fans with disabilities. We will use it to say thank you to our assistants from the past 20 years and pay tribute to their work. We were not only pioneers in the Bundesliga; it’s much more important that commentary for the blind gives people the chance to fully enjoy the match experience,” said Fernando Carro, chairman of the board, who went on to thank the main sponsor of Bayer 04. “When we came up with the idea, along with Barmenia, of changing the shirt for the one time this season in support of this cause, the management were enthusiastic in giving their agreement.”
The special service, now standard at all Bundesliga stadiums and at the grounds in the second division plus for a lot of games in the third division and Regional Leagues, started with the 4-1 win for the Werkself against SSV Ulm 1846 on 15 October 1999. Since then, blind and visually-impaired fans have had the opportunity to follow Werkself games in a dedicated section of the South Stand at the BayArena. There are 20 permanent seats available. The fans are joined by two reporters for the blind who provide live match commentary. Visually-impaired supporters follow the commentary via headphones and are also able to take in the match atmosphere at the stadium.
“I take my hat off to the way our visually impaired fans are able to provide post-match analysis. You get the feeling they’ve made a mental image of all the incidents in the game,” said Andreas ‘Paffi’ Paffrath, the Bayer 04 fan and disability liaison officer. The club has invited all reporters for the blind over the last 20 years to the game against RB Leipzig. The AGM of ‘Die Sehhunde’ fan club is being held at the BayArena on Friday night and the members will be at the game on Saturday.
Overview of events on Saturday:
Bayer 04 were the trailblazers of match commentary for blind supporters in the Bundesliga – but the idea was not completely new. Kurt Vossen, the then, and now deceased, head of the football section at TSV Bayer 04, was inspired by a visit to the top Premier League club Manchester United who had already provided the service years before. After working with ‘Die Sehhunde’ fan club, with memberships from partially sighted and blind fans from across Germany, Vossen established the facilities for match commentary for the blind and the service was launched at the BayArena on 15 October 1999.
The section for the blind is almost always sold out. Tickets are available via the Bayer 04 hotline (+49 214/5000 1904).
Bayer 04 fan Gerhard Stoll has been a member of the ‘Sehhunde’ for many years and he reported on a special away trip to Berlin the Werkself Magazine in May 2017.
Bayer 04 welcomed 14 media representatives from Africa on Friday, 1 December. The trip for journalists from the likes of Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mozambique, Togo, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana and Togo was organised by the Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) with the goal of establishing and promoting Africa as a new target market for the Bundesliga.Show more
Bayer 04 has modernised its media working area in the stands at the BayArena and equipped it with new, multifunctional monitors. The 50 screens will be used for the first time for the fixture against Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 13 in the Bundesliga next Sunday, 3 December (kick-off: 17:30 CET) and offer the media representatives working at the BayArena on matchday numerous possibilities.Show more
Bayer 04 have little time to recover from their 2-0 win away at Häcken in the UEFA Europe League, ensuring progress to the round of 16, before their next challenge up against Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga on Sunday (17:30 CET). At his pre-match press conference on Friday morning, head coach Xabi Alonso spoke about BVB and gave a warning about not losing focus.Show more
Spirits are high at Borussia Dortmund following their impressive display and result away at AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. On Sunday (17:30 CET), they want to keep an impressive week going with another scalp in Leverkusen. Here’s the lowdown on our next opponents.Show more