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Handicap accessibility at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar

12.11.2022 10:41 AM
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Handicap accessibility at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar
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Handicap accessibility at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar

With the start of the World Cup approaching, Qatar seeks for everyone to have equal opportunities to enjoy the World Cup, including people with special needs.

Qatar has worked to integrate and involve this category since the beginning of the preparation and preparation for the tournament and to provide suitable spaces for the physically and cognitively disabled who prefer to live the World Cup experience directly by attending the matches.

Ahmed Habib, who has special needs, is one of the enthusiastic fans of the tournament, in addition to his work in the Legacy and Projects Authority, which is responsible for organizing Qatar 2022.

"I think everything is ready for this edition to be the most accessible for all categories in the history of the World Cup," Habib says.

He added, "The work began a long time ago by involving individuals with special needs and providing the highest standards in the tournament and ensuring that it plays a transformative role to ensure the empowerment of the disabled in the future.

Habib also considers that it is rare to have stadiums like the one in Qatar which gives wheelchair users the opportunity to sit in multiple areas of the stadium to get different viewing angles.

Except for the physically impaired, the Education City Stadium provides a special experience for people with cognitive disabilities. There is a special room in the stands called the Sensory Room which is a quiet and safe space for fans with autism and other cognitive impairments to enable them to follow matches during the World Cup.

Qatari Guide for People with Disabilities

Sabeeka Shaaban established the “Qatari Guide for People with Disabilities” to link people with movement disabilities with actors to empower this category in the country

Shaban describes working for accessibility as a challenge. "We're talking about really diverse needs and trying to understand that accessibility is more than just installing a ramp and braille cues is really important."

Shaaban notes that much work at the grassroots level has been done to enhance accessibility during future football tournaments.

Shaaban told Euronews that what FIFA has done is to shed light on these voices and make them more important by designing stadiums and spaces that are suitable for people with special needs.

 

"This counts as a precedent for these voices to be an integral part of any design going forward."

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