Damaris Cooke and Rolf Choutan are joining BT Sport and EE’s New Signing initiative to provide British Sign Language (BSL) presentation around a range of live sports broadcasts in 2023, including June’s UEFA Champions League final.
Damaris and Rolf were among ten high-calibre finalists selected from an overwhelming number of applications after the opportunity was announced last year.
They were put through their paces during the New Signing casting day in December, in front of a panel of experts including Kevin Evans, Executive Producer, BT Sport, Christian Cotter, Producer, BT Sport, Lesley McGilp, Head of Signing, Access Services, Red Bee Media, and Sean Noone, Competition Manager, English Deaf Football.
Their journey will be followed by a documentary series which will debut on the BT Sport 1 and EE platforms on Saturday 4 February at 3.45pm.
The new signing continues the work of BT Sport and EE to make football more accessible.
BT Sport’s new registration initiative aims to raise the profile of the deaf community in sport and help make programming accessible to all. For more information, visit btsport.com/signup.
The new signing is the latest initiative supported by EE, as part of its long-term partnership with each of the four home nation football associations, to support the development of disability football on and off the pitch.
Damaris captained both the Great Britain Women’s Football Team and the England Women’s Football Team. Crystal Palace season ticket holder Rolf used to play football for the deaf and currently plays for a minor football team for the deaf.
Damaris said: “Within hours of launching New Signing, I received over thirty messages from friends and family urging me to sign up. I am well known as a sports fan and have represented my country in women’s football. Accessibility in sports is something that I am very passionate about and so I am a little bit thrilled to be involved in such an exciting journey. Times are indeed changing and I am honored to be along for the ride.”
Rolf said: “When a friend alerted me to the opportunity for a new BT Sport and EE signing, with the ability to deliver football pundits in the BSL, I didn’t wait to apply. This represents an exciting new chapter in deaf accessibility within sport and one whose part of me feels privileged.”
Jamie Hindhaugh, BT Sport presenter, said: “Damaris and Rolf showed great energy and their personalities shone through. They both struck a great balance between being charismatic and adding personal touches while still providing the right information. We can’t wait to see how they both develop on screen this year.”
Matt Stevenson, head of sponsorship at BT, said: “Congratulations to Damaris and Rolf. The New Signing supports EE’s work with the four Home Nations Football Associations to ensure football is as inclusive as possible for all.”