World Cup: Accessible by Design

Major sporting events offer great opportunities to design and build inclusive infrastructure and services. The FIFA World Cup in Qatar is no exception. The Accessible by Design: Building a legacy of inclusion report sets out Qatar’s challenges and solutions.

The aim is to “ensure stadia and the entire experience, inside and outside the stadium, are fully accessible to all. This includes designing and planning for accessible hotels, transportation, tourist attractions and more”.

The policy recommendations in the report “provide solid and practical guidelines to design and redesign cities that are equally accessible to all”.

Front cover of Accessible by Design report.

Qatar has worked with organisations representing people with disability to meet their pledge to deliver the most accessible World Cup to date. This means both inside and outside the stadia – hotels, transportation, and tourist attractions. The aim is to leave a lasting legacy and a national priority for greater accessibility across Qatar.

Report and recommendations

The report is in four sections with an executive summary with a focus on urban design and the FIFA World Cup event. The first section discusses the prevalence of and disadvantages for people with disability. Five levels of accessible and inclusive urban design are presented based on the UN’s Economic and Social Affairs work.

The second section relates specifically to the World Cup with diagrams and explanations of how Qatar will achieve its aims. The third section is about what to expect at the tournament. With eight stadia all within a relatively close proximity to each other. That means fans can see more than one match in a day.

The fourth section has conclusions and policy recommendations. At the end of the tournament it will be necessary to check the experiences of people with disability. And also, whether the tournament left a lasting legacy of service and behavioural change.

The report closes with six policy recommendations. Similarly to the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, setting up an authority to continue the work is one of them. There is not much new in the report for countries that have policies on access and inclusion. However, it is good to see their aims and objectives set out in the report. While people with disability are being considered, we know that there are some other groups who remain on the outside.

The report is published by WISH and draws on the WISH 2022 Forum on Accessible Design and Health recently held in Doha.

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