Sensory rooms at AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 deliver incredible experiences

Sensory rooms at AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 deliver incredible experiences By A Robin - February 04, 2024
Sensory rooms

Sensory rooms

Fans with sensory needs are able to be part of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 excitement in a safe and comfortable environment. The tournament’s Local Organising Committee (LOC) has set up sensory rooms at three stadiums: Al Bayt, Lusail and Education City. The spaces allow fans to watch matches in a quieter space, equipped with assistive technology and managed by expert staff.

The sensory rooms were first introduced during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and continue to be a pivotal feature in the tournament’s accessibility strategy. For Jassim Al-Jaidah, LOC Sustainability Communication & Stakeholder Manager, making the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 accessible to everyone is a key priority for organisers.

‚ÄúThe sensory rooms are a crucial part of our commitment to providing an accessible tournament to all fans. We believe everyone has the right to enjoy football. We wanted to make sure fans with sensory needs are able to enjoy all the excitement of a stadium experience from a comfortable environment. By working with local stakeholders, we were able to make sure that fans with sensory needs across Qatar were able to enjoy the action straight from the pitch and support their teams,‚ÄĚ said Al-Jaidah.

During match days, children, parents and teachers were able to access the sensory room prior to, during and after the match, allowing fans extra time to acclimatise to their new surroundings and avoid crowds when entering and leaving the stadium. Sensory rooms arefitted with controlled lighting and interactive projections to engage the senses and create an inviting and stimulating internal atmosphere.They open up to a row of dedicated seats, from where fans can enjoy the match proceedings and interact with the crowd at their own pace.

Sonia Besbes, a special education teacher,sees the inclusion of sensory rooms in stadiums as an important step towards integrating children with sensory needs into the football fan community. ‚ÄúSensory rooms at the Asian Cup are creating wonderful memories. Allowing children with sensory needs, such as children with autism, to attend football matches is really important for their growth and development,‚ÄĚ said Besbes.

In addition to sensory rooms, the LOCoffers audio descriptive commentary in Arabicfor blind and partially sighted fans. All stadiums have wheelchair accessible seats as well as seating options for fans with limited mobility.

Qatar is hosting the AFC Asian Cup for a record third time after successfully hosting it in 1988 and 2011. Twenty-four of the continent’s best teams will compete for the continent’s most prestigious football title. A total of 51 matches will be played across nine stadiums, with the final set for February 10, 2024.

By A Robin - February 04, 2024

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