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Sensory rooms set up at Qatar 2022 venues for a perfect and memorable experience

A number of pilot projects were set to be implemented for the first time at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, with the creation of sensory rooms for fans with access requirements in several of the venues of the tournament.

For Qatar 2022, three of the stadiums were chosen, including the largest arena of the competition, which will also host the final, the Lusail Iconic Stadium, creating an excellent environment for children to watch the matches in a quieter space, equipped with assistive technology and managed by expert staff.

This edition of the FIFA World Cup has set a new record and a new precedent, being the first event to have three sensory rooms in three different venues, with the largest deployment of such in history.

The sensory rooms, which are located in one of the stadium’s sky boxes, offer visitors the chance to watch live football in a specially-lit space that aims to alleviate any anxiety they may feel while attending a large-scale event. The purpose of the room is to offer people an enjoyable match day experience in a location that feels safe and secure. It features soft furnishings, toys and other activities which were installed by the Qatar Institute for Speech and Hearing.

The rooms can accommodate at least 10 people and have big tinted windows where the fans can watch events in seclusion. They also have soft lighting from fibre optical and LED lamps, coloured mattresses and sensory rugs that offer a range of distracting, tactile fun for children and teenagers. There are also noise-cancelling headphones padded blankets to roll around on, and anti-stress toys.

The sensory viewing room, which was set up by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) in collaboration with the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 LLC and FIFA – and with support from Qatar Foundation (QF) – caters mainly to children and young adults with autism or learning difficulties, among other sensory access requirements.

“We are committed to hosting the most inclusive World Cup in history – and facilities like the sensory viewing room at Education City Stadium are a major part of our plans. We understand that large, noisy crowds may be overwhelming for some fans, so we feel it is important to run a facility like this for children and young people, so they can enjoy the match in a safe and calming environment,” said Khaled Al Suwaidi, the SC’s Stakeholder Relations Director.

In addition to sensory rooms, Qatar 2022 also features a number of firsts for disabled fans, including the availability of audio descriptive commentary in Arabic at all matches. The tournament is also being hailed as the most accessible edition of the FIFA World Cup in history – with all eight stadiums being outfitted with facilities for disabled fans.

“For each edition of the FIFA World Cup, we step up our commitment to sustainability. Qatar 2022 is becoming a standard bearer for other major sporting events when it comes to accessibility, going beyond basic infrastructure. This is about ensuring that every fan feels welcome and a part of this event, and we are proud of what we have achieved,” added Federico Addiechi, FIFA’s Head of Sustainability & Environment.

The project has been getting rave reviews from the fans attending, with the dedicated space equipped with controlled lighting, interactive games and projections helping children and attendees feel the magic of the World Cup at Qatar 2022 without any issue whatsoever.

Similar spaces are available throughout Qatar during the FIFA World Cup, both at the Corniche in Doha and at the several FIFA Fan Festival venues opened for the tournament, creating an even better experience for all those involved.

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