Fans with disabilities will be provided access to a range of digital content as Qatar aims to make the next FIFA World Cup accessible to as many people as possible, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) has stressed.
In a statement yesterday, the SC works closely with local organisations to ensure that content on its website, mobile apps and digital documents can be enjoyed by all fans, irrespective of their accessibility needs.
The SC’s Accessibility Forum – comprising people from across Qatar’s disability community – has proved vital in supporting efforts to deliver the most accessible World Cup in tournament history.
“The Accessibility Forum is very important as it enables us to work directly with people with disabilities and ensure that the accessibility standards we have put in place across stadiums and digital content meet all their needs,” said Khaled al-Suwaidi, the SC’s Stakeholder Relations senior manager.
The Qatar Social and Cultural Club for the Blind has actively participated in Accessibility Forum events since its inception in 2016. Its chairman, Faisal al-Kohaji, who also works as a legal adviser in the oil and gas industry, said digital accessibility is crucial for him and millions of other football fans around the world.
“E-accessibility means access to information for everyone, most notably people with disabilities. Through the implementation of international e-accessibility standards, fans with disabilities can independently access the Qatar 2022 website and mobile apps to find out information about stadiums and touristic destinations,” said al-Kohaji, who uses text to speech technology to access digital content through his smartphone.
Al-Kohaji continued, “Through the Accessibility Forum, people with disabilities can play a direct role in ensuring that all major digital touchpoints of the tournament are accessible, including websites and apps that share Qatar 2022 specific information as well encouraging others to follow suit, including those that will be used to book flights and hotels.”
Another founding member of the Accessibility Forum – and a key partner in helping the SC’s e-accessibility efforts – is Mada - Assistive Technology Centre Qatar. Established in 2010, Mada has been leading the country’s digital accessibility efforts, with its work recently recognised at the global level.
"Recently, Qatar ranked first in the 2020 Digital Access Rights Assessment Index, a global benchmarking tool used to measure access to information and communication technology, and we seek to maintain this leadership at the global level through a series of strategic partnership with various entities across the country, including the SC," said Maha al-Mansouri, Mada CEO.
Accessibility forms a central part of the Qatar 2022 Sustainability Strategy, which applies to all functional areas and projects involved in preparations for the tournament and its legacy. Released in 2020, the strategy states one of its aims is to “ensure an accessible FIFA World Cup 2022 for disabled people and people with limited mobility, while facilitating accessibility across physical infrastructure, public transport and services in Qatar”.
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