Saturday 03 December 2022, 06:00

Disabled Fans offered unique FIFA World Cup experience

  • Wheelchair users have been invited to get up close to their heroes

  • Initiative part of a much wider FIFA, SC and Q22 commitment to inclusivity and accessibility

  • Five categories of Accessibility Tickets are available for all 64 matches

“At FIFA, our goal is to provide inclusive and accessible infrastructure and services for all fans, including disabled fans and fans with limited mobility.” The words of FIFA President Gianni Infantino speaking at a special event focused on showcasing FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ accessibility features last month. It is estimated that about 15% of the world’s population, or one billion people, experience some form of disability and that many others have specific access requirements. Ensuring that the tournament is accessible for disabled people and people with limited mobility amongst others is critical to the inclusivity of the FIFA World Cup 2022™.

To coin a phrase, ‘Well done, is better than well said.’ In a, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, FIFA has introduced a new initiative at Qatar 2022. For each of the 64 matches, disabled fans have also been offered an exclusive experience during the pre-match ceremony. Two wheelchair users attending the match with an Accessibility Ticket are randomly selected to participate and have been invited to come to the player tunnel, as well as pitch-side, getting up close with the on-field stars. As of the last match of the group phase, their participation has become even more special, with the fans taking part in the line-up themselves, right in front of the match officials. At the pulsating Group E fixture between Japan and Spain on 1 December at Khalifa International Stadium, José Ramos Castillo from Barcelona and Mochida Haruki from Tokyo got up close to their heroes. Following the anthems, both embraced in the player tunnel, grinning from ear to ear. “This was a very special moment. Unbelievable” said the Spain fan. “I am so happy tonight.” The sentiments were shared by Haruki, who was wearing the number 11 jersey of his favourite player, Takefusa Kubo.

Brazil v Switzerland: Group G - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

In the case of all new FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ stadiums and training sites, FIFA’s Accessibility Strategy set out to ensure that all are accessible for disabled people and people with limited mobility in compliance with FIFA’s accessibility requirements and the SC’s inclusive design requirements. Regular inspections and audits were conducted to evaluate compliance with a range of accessibility criteria for stadium infrastructure. Accessible infrastructure includes access routes, accessible seating options, seating locations and quantities, toilets, accessible parking areas, dedicated priority lanes at entrances and food & beverage counters, priority lift access, and relevant signage. More broadly, FIFA has ensured a dedicated allocation of tickets for purchase by local and international disabled people and people with limited mobility to facilitate their attendance at the FIFA World Cup 2022™. These Accessibility Tickets are available in every stadium and across all matches in five ticket categories,- first for any mega sporting event. These are: wheelchair users; easy access amenity; easy access standard; easy access extra-width; and sensory rooms in Al Bayt, Lusail and Education City stadiums. A complimentary ticket for a companion is offered for all categories except easy access extra-width seat ticket holders. All accessibility ticket applications and documents of proof of eligibility are screened and verified by experts working for the Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE) or by ticketing staff trained by CAFE. Promotional campaigns are carried out prior to each tournament to raise awareness about the availability of accessibility tickets to fans.

Netherlands v Ecuador: Group A - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Did you Know? • Test events such as the FIFA Club World Cup 2019™, FIFA Club World Cup 2020™ and FIFA Arab Cup 2021™ presented an opportunity to deliver accessibility training developed by FIFA and Q22. Approximately 6,500 volunteers covering spectator services, security, sustainability and health & safety roles were trained on accessibility awareness and etiquette. • During the FIFA Arab Cup 2021™, wheelchairs and golf carts were made available via a mobility assistance services programme. 15-20 volunteers per match provided mobility services. Over 3,500 private security personnel received disability awareness training to help them recognise and assist disabled spectators and spectators with limited mobility at test events. • Feedback and lessons learned from test events have enabled further improvements to accessibility training and service delivery in the leadup to the FIFA World Cup 2022™. • Qatar signed the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2008 and has been implementing various projects to further enhance the quality of services offered to disabled individuals. Under the National Development Strategy (NDS) 2018-2022, Qatar seeks to enhance the health and well-being of disabled people in the country by providing adequate health services, special programmes and social services for a high quality of life. Further Information: Accessibility at the Tournament Wider Accessibility in Qatar

England v USA: Group B - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022