Sunday, July 11, 2010

World Cup, Wheelchair Seating, Esclerosis Múltiple, Multiple Sclerose

Reading a news story that today’s World Cup 2010 Final may be the most watched event in world history inspired a reflection or two over morning coffee.

Obviously all eyes will be on the field. Yet I hope somewhere somehow the absence of disabled fans is noticed. Why is accessible seating always expendable? Of the 87,000 seats at Soccer City Stadium there were only 118

“FIFA … guideline was that between 1 and 0.5% of the stadium's seating capacity had to be reserved for wheelchair-bound spectators. An equal number of seats had to be provided for their assistants….

The South African Disabled Alliance was briefed in May that “this had not been done … Inspection of the stadiums had revealed deficiencies in the location of disabled seating … and dangerous conditions”. 

I’ll do the math for you. Soccer City Stadium should have between 870 and 435 spaces for wheelchairs and an equal number of companion seats. 118 is disgraceful.

Politicians, celebrities and performers love to bring attention to wrongs when running for office, when they have to something to sell, or when ‘talking’ about some cause. Yet their faces smile back through countless photos from World Cup games. Remember that smiling collusion when it comes to believing their support of people with disabilities.   

Hey World! Fans roll as well as walk!

Those living with Esclerosis Múltiple in Spain or Multiple Sclerose in Netherlands struggle every day as heroically if not more than healthy athletes during a game. Imagine no time limits on duration.

Refelctions aside, grab a vuvuzela, make a lot of noise and escape into the beautiful game!

The potentially most viewed event in history is totally accessible on television. Ole ole ole ole!

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer 


  1. I'm sure the lack of seats available for the disabled has something to do with money and greed to make more rather than help provide opportunities for all to enjoy such an event


  2. Interesting observations. I never would have noticed but then I'm not in a wheelchair. You are right, it is completely disgraceful. As people often say disabled is not dead. I hope the the next thing you want to do is freely available to you and the one you care for.

  3. Betty, excellent point - no doubt good old fashioned greed played a role.

  4. Debbie, interesting observation. After so many years behind a wheelchair I do tend to see with different eyes. Many with less physical disabilities have never encountered the discrimination.


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