In 2007, AZ was the first club in the Netherlands to introduce a special blind seat area. From the press stand visually impaired guests are updated from minute to minute via a special headset, while they experience the atmosphere and smell the grass in the stadium. The same goes for Arnold (63), a fanatic supporter with a blind love for AZ.
Arnold saw his club becoming champion in the Eredivisie (1981), conquering several KNVB Cups and several great footballers in De Alkmaarderhout. Until 18 years ago, his life was turned upside down. “In 2002 I had a lung disease and had to undergo a transplant. During the transplantation I got a slight cerebral infarction due to an oxygen deficiency and as a result I became blind”, says Arnold in the video below.
Arnold was one of the first supporters to register for the blind stand. “Now I feel the atmosphere, I smell the grass and I experience everything. The fact that I cannot see anything is not so bad for me. I just turn it into a party in my head", says Arnold.
Football is for everyone and must be available for all fans. That is why AZ also gives visually impaired people the chance to enjoy the football atmosphere in the AFAS Stadium. AZ was the first Dutch club with a blind stand, now more than half of the Eredivisie clubs have special places for visually impaired and blind supporters.
THE POWER OF FOOTBALL
The video is part of a 25-part video series in which weekly attention is paid to the impact that Eredivisie clubs have on society and what this can mean for an individual and his or her environment. AZ is the ninth club to be featured. Watch the earlier videos of PSV (Amputation Football), Willem II (Football Memories), PEC Zwolle (PEC kicks ASS), ADO Den Haag (G-Storks), FC Twente (Supporter for each other), sc Heerenveen (Assisted working), Feyenoord (Special wishes) and Sparta Rotterdam (Refugee Mo).
The video series is an initiative of the Eredivisie CV, FOX Sports and VriendenLoterij, social partner of the Eredivisie.