Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy has taken preliminary steps to integrate people with disabilities to the World Cup Volunteer Programme.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup organizing body, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, held their first ever Accessibility Forum workshop to identify the training requirements and opportunities for a more diverse volunteer force during the tournament.
The workshop learnt from the experiences of two Qatari Paralympics silver medalists, Abdulrahman Abdulqader and Sara Masoud, who were among the attendees. Their input will be taken into consideration when formulating a volunteer strategy for the first ever World Cup in the Middle East.
When it comes to events as big as the World Cup, people with disabilities have it harder with accessibility than others. It is easy to get lost among the overwhelming numbers of attendees and very hard to reach dedicated passageways.
Having the input of someone with a disability who has experienced both sides of a similarly huge sports event, could play a leading role in taking proactive measures to facilitate accessibility to every attendee.
But having people with disability within the volunteer workforce serves even greater.
Rio 2016 silver medalist Sara Masoud pointed this out in an interview with the Supreme Committee’s website, saying that “volunteers with disabilities sense and feel our needs more. They know exactly what information we need for the best fan experience. They would tell us what roads to take and what’s the easier way to move with our wheelchairs.”
Meanwhile Ikrami Ahmed Fouad, from the Qatar Social and Cultural Centre for the Blind, said: “It is great that Qatar is looking to involve people with disabilities in preparations so early on. I think people with disabilities can contribute a lot, and by giving them training and the option to volunteer they will be more confident.”
The Accessibility Forum, an initiative by the Supreme Committee to ensure a seamless experience for attending fans with disabilities at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, was launched back in November 2016, with the representation of over 30 specialized organizations. Together, they will put accessibility plans to the test and evaluation before they are implemented to ensure people with disabilities an easy and enjoyable time during the tournament.