Monday, 29 October 2012

‘Blue Stand’ for handicapped fans at Al Sadd

RAAJIV TRIPATHI

DOHA QATAR’S premier football club Al Sadd, which is leading the Qatar Stars League current season with five victories in as many matches, has made a pioneering contribution to corporate social responsibility programmes as well.

Al Sadd has created a ‘Blue Stand’ for the handicapped fans at the Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Stadium – the first of its kind in Qatar. The Blue Stand was inaugurated on Saturday at the Sector 120 to live up to its ‘Enable the Disabled’ promise at a simple ceremony on the eve of a match Al Sadd played against El Jaish.

Blue is an international colour for the physically challenge people.

The Sadd Blue Stand has about 500 seats with the blue lights on the floor to enable the handicapped fans to navigate and identify their sitting places. The stand also has adequate space between the rows of seats to ensure that wheelchairs could move without problem. All the floors have ramps to facilitate the movements of the wheelchairs.

Abdulla al Raisi, Deputy CEO of CBQ, cut the blue ribbon in presence of Al Sadd General Secretary Jassim al Rumaihi, ex-president and board member Nasser Mubarak al Ali, former club player Hassan Matar al Suwaidi and Khalil al Jaber and Sadd board member and QOC Sports Affairs Director.

Commercialbank of Qatar has teamed up with Sadd as its joint partner.

After the ceremony, Rumaihi expressed his gratitude to Commercialbank and the Qatar Olympic Committee for supporting this unique initiative under the Disability Legacy programme.

“The physically-challenged sports fans are part of our society and we’ll try to provide the best and safest possible environment to these fans so that they can enjoy football matches. We are really keen to welcome them here and soon, we hope to have a big number of such fans coming to our stadium and relishing the matches,” said Rumaihi.

The Sadd general secretary also hoped the drive would inspire other clubs to adopt such measures soon. “Al Sadd is privileged to be the first club to come up with such plan and will be remembered for it always. I sincerely hope that other clubs would also follow us and create such facilities for the handicapped fans.

“Right now, this facility is meant for the football matches.

But hopefully, we’ll create such Blue Areas for other sports as well,” added Rumaihi.

According to Dalal al Dossary, managing director of Impact CSR Solutions, Al Sadd has built the Blue Area in consultation with all the important stakeholders in Qatar such as the Qatar Olympic Committee, Qatar Paralympic Committee, Qatar Stars League, Qatar Football Association and Qatar Women’s Sports Committee.

Fans with special needs had earlier complained about the lack of safe and wellequipped areas for them to watch and enjoy sporting activities.

The club will also take care of the handicapped fans by offering refreshments, water and drinks during the matches.

The stand, which has the customised toilets in close proximity, has been made near the parking place for the official ambulances at the Al Sadd stadium. This will help the club to evacuate the handicapped fans in case of any emergency, added Dossary.

“The Qatar Paralympic Committee will issue identity cards in dominant blue and white colours. The cards will have all the related information about the holders. The club will deploy helpers to assist the fans.

“Al Sadd Club would stay in touch with its various partners and would be on the look out to further improve the facilities. This will surely create more awareness among other clubs and organisations and the handicapped fans will be able to enjoy the football matches like never before,” added Dossary.

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