September 6th is Color Blind Awareness Day. Every year on this date, attention is drawn to people who have color blindness.
The date is the birthday of scientist John Dalton, who discovered red-green color blindness (“Daltonism”) 250 years ago, Dalton suffered from it himself. In various facets, color blindness affects eight percent of men and 0.5 percent of women. Of course, this presents those affected with difficulties in everyday life – and it is also a problem for football fans with color blindness in the stadiums of the Bundesliga.
The association of color-blind and color-blind people (IF Farb) has been dealing with this for a long time and has now analyzed the past Bundesliga season (first and second division) and found – in a nutshell – that for fans with color blindness every third Bundesliga game is a vision in the dark.
The games of FSV Mainz 05 (25) and Hamburger SV (20) were affected most frequently, with the statutes of the German Football League (DFL) prescribing that “the main and reserve clothing for players must have a clear contrast (light and dark ) must form so that they could be worn by two opposing teams in a game.”
In the Bundesliga, the lack of contrasts plays a bigger role for people with color blindness: Of the 105 games from the previous season classified as problematic by IFFarb, only 15 games were in a combination of green and red colors.
Jan Spiegelberg, co-founder of IFfarb, remembers a game between Hertha BSC and VfB Stuttgart in the spring: “I was completely amazed that Hertha played in the dark blue away jersey against the red Stuttgart team. It was just dark versus dark for me.”
Then he had it explained to him. “Hertha had won away in Augsburg the day before and Hertha’s coach Felix Magath then wanted to stay in the away shirts at home out of superstition.”
Which of course was bitter for viewers with color blindness. In the meantime, however, says Spielgelberg, talks with the DFL have been going very well. He hopes that something will change significantly for the coming Bundesliga season. “The DFL is already doing something with the clubs,” he says. “Awareness is growing.”