World Cup 2022 venues will be accessible to people with disabilities making the sporting event an inclusive tournament, according to the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC).
Speaking at Accessible #Qatar Conference yesterday, Najla Al Obaidan, Senior Architect, Supreme Committee for Delivery Legacy, said inclusive design is being implemented in all the stadiums being constructed for the global event.
Accessibility is at the core of the design of the venues from the parking areas to the stadium entrance to the seats to facilities such as toilets and emergency services, she said.
'The percentage of seats for persons with disabilities will be determined according to the size of the stadium. There will also be a percentage of parking spaces to be allotted for persons with disabilities, said Al Obaidan.
'The seats are inclined based on FIFA standards in such a way that the disabled fans can have a good view. In addition, there are also places allocated for media with disabilities as well as for people with autism, she said, while providing an overview of the stadiums under construction.
Mark Todd, Principle Accessibility Consult, Access All Areas UK said the principle of accessible design should take three elements into consideration including equity, dignity and functionality.
Segregation of disabled people and those with accessibility needsmust be avoided and that they should be given the same quality of experience. 'Everything should be accessible. No area of the stadium, no service, no sport should be off limits to anybody with accessibility need, he stressed.
'Sometimes things that we do for accessible design can benefit everybody, so a stadium that is accessible for disabled people is usually accessible to everybody, he added.
The session hosted by SC entitled 'How to improve fan experience for people with disabilities: Case study on different elements and new development ideas on making World Cup 2022 accessible for all also featured Guy Davies, Managing Director, Disability Solutions, #SouthAfrica and Ameer Al Mulla, Executive Director, #Qatar Paralympic Committee (QPC).
Al Mulla shared Qatar's experience in hosting the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in which athletes with disabilities from around the world competed for the first time in an Arab country.
He stressed championing the cause of the disabled is not limited to certain organisations like the QPC but is a collective effort of all members of the society.
The two-day inaugural Accessible #Qatar meet which concluded yesterday was aimed at raising awareness about accessibility, encouraging knowledge-sharing, and influencing project developers toward making existing and future venues accessible.