Sunday 06 March 2022, 23:00

ASEAN and FIFA promote inclusivity through sport

Sixty participants representing a mix of FIFA member associations, government officials, and sports practitioners from ASEAN Member States gathered virtually on 2 March at the ASEAN-FIFA Webinar: Universal Design for Football Stadia and Sports Facilities.

The webinar provided a platform to promote inclusive access for disabled people to football stadia and sports facilities, as well as soliciting feedback on how football associations and relevant authorities can collaborate in applying universal design in their respective venues.

Attending sports events and other sporting activities is a strong facet of culture and tradition in ASEAN countries. The webinar expressed the belief that sport should be inclusive to all, and sporting venues should be accessible to all. In turn, leading to a growing importance in design and planning processes. Director of Human Development of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Department, Rodora T. Babaran highlighted that ASEAN has witnessed an increasing interest in hosting major sports events, which can also positively contribute to the region’s socio-economic prosperity.

FIFA Chief Social Responsibility & Education Officer, Joyce Cook, said: “We applaud the commitment from stakeholders in the region in coming together today with a common goal to enhance and make sporting facilities inclusive and welcoming spaces for all. “We look forward to following and supporting these ongoing efforts. As a disabled person myself, I know first-hand how important this work is and the inclusive opportunities that our beautiful game can provide. We need to ensure many more disabled people are afforded the same chances across both the ASEAN region, and globally.”

The session also included a presentation from the representative of Poverty Eradication and Gender Division, ASEAN Secretariat, Jacel Paguiao, on Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Hala Ousta, FIFA Accessibility & Diversity Manager presented FIFA’s Standards & Requirements for events.

Architect of Unitri Cipta Consultant, Timmy Setiawan shared his experience in applying universal design in Indonesia, including the Lukas Enembe Stadium in Papua, the Manahan Stadium in Solo, and the soon-to-be launched Jakarta International Stadium, in the context of preparations for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Indonesia 2023.

The exchange of views with participants and speakers later revolved around how to meet minimum standards with limited resources; how organisers can promote the participation of disabled people in sports events through outreach activities; and the importance of engaging disabled people in the design process of venues to test the level of accessibility and safety.

This initiative forms part of the ASEAN-FIFA Collaboration Plan 2021-2022 adopted by the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Sports, which also contributes to the implementation of ASEAN Work Plan on Sports 2021-2025.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional grouping that promotes economic, political, and security cooperation among its ten members: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.