Nobody knows barriers to accessibility as well as those who come up against them in their daily lives.
This is why we established the Accessibility Forum: to ask people with disabilities – and more than 30 organisations that represent them – how we can make the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ the most accessible tournament ever held.
We ask people with disabilities and experts to evaluate our plans – and those of stakeholders such as the Ministry of Transport & Communications and National Tourism Council – and provide vital feedback on how they can be improved. The group stays in close contact with contacts across Qatar's government to ensure an ethos of accessibility flows from the top.
Accessibility Forum members represent a wide variety of impairments, including physical, cognitive, perceptual and mental health disabilities, helping us to take all people into consideration.
The results so far
The Accessibility Forum first concentrated on improving access to infrastructure, examining Qatar's transport systems from the point of view of disabled people. This was a vital first step ahead of 2022, when millions of football fans will visit Qatar.
The project has now moved on to review access to the country's many cultural attractions, which will also welcome millions of visitors in 2022 and beyond.
The first sign of progress, though, came from within the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy itself: the inclusion of people with disabilities and accessibility training in our volunteering scheme. Then, in May 2017, the inauguration of Khalifa International Stadium brought with it Qatar's first stadium-based sensory room for people with cognitive disabilities.
Following a workshop with National Tourism Council, it too introduced mandatory accessibility training – for its own staff and those of hotels throughout the country. All relevant frontline employees at Hamad International Airport completed such training in August 2017.
This is just the start for a project and a group of people committed to ensuring everybody can enjoy the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ and a brighter future.
For information on how to get involved with the Accessibility Forum, please contact [email protected].