Children with autism and conduct disorders were able to enjoy the recent Emir Cup final, watching the match in a purpose-built room with their parents.
The Qatar 2022 Local Organising Committee, the body in charge of developing projects and iniatiatves for the 2022 World Cup, are not only striving to make sure all of the installations for the the tournament meet with FIFA's strict criteria, they are also paying attention to fans with special needs who will also get the chance to enjoy the summer showpiece.
From a practical point of view, those with special needs or mental disorders will need specialist facilities at the World Cup. During the recent Emir Cup final between Al-Duhail and Al-Sadd at the Al Janoub stadium in Al Wakrah City, 22 children with disabilities were able to follow the game with their parents in a new sensory room - a room which provides a safe space for the children and offers extra equipment such as bean bags and bubble tubes to keep them happy and entertained.
The sensory room provides an ideal atmosphere for children with autism or conduct disorders. There, they can be accompanied by their families and special needs workers emplyed by the Qatar Foundation and the Qatar Rehabilitation Institute.
As for the Al Janoub stadium, the second stadium to be completed and up and running ahead of 2022 World Cup, Chief Communications Officer Miaad Al Abady said, "We are proud to have been able to deliver another sensory room for the World Cup, this time at the magnificent Al Janoub Stadium. We have always said this World Cup is a World Cup for all. All are welcome and all will be catered for – that includes people with conditions that can sometimes make it challenging to attend large-scale events such as football matches".
She added: "With the inclusion of these sensory rooms, they and their families can attend the games knowing they have a safe space just a few metres away, should they become overwhelmed at any point. It gives us all great pleasure to see these children able to relax and enjoy the events, just like everyone else. I would like to thank our partners at Qatar Foundation, QRI and HMC for making this wonderful project possible, and we look forward to working together many more times over the coming years – up to and beyond 2022".
The Al Janoub stadium, which is located in the city of Al Wakrah, is the second to house a sensory room. The first was the Khalifa International stadium, which was inaugurated in 2017 when it gained the status to stage international matches.