Until recently, the medical model of disability has been widely accepted in Russia, with many people seeing disability as being caused by an impairment or condition. Due to inaccessible environments, whether they be physical, sensory, intellectual or attitudinal, many disabled people in Russia have not been able to integrate themselves into society.
Whilst there are noticeable recent efforts to create a barrier-free environment to ensure disabled people are integrated into society, including strong accessibility legislation, building regulations and employment quotas for disabled people, the accessibility of public buildings and public transport across the country remains limited. It can be argued that St Petersburg and Moscow are more advanced in this area than other 2018 FIFA World Cup™ host cities. Nonetheless, public transport systems, hotels and restaurants still largely lack adequate facilities across all Host Cities. It is therefore recommended that disabled people, who are concerned about access requirements, should always check in advance.
As part of the Sustainability Strategy for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™, each host stadium offers a range of Special Access seating and accessible services and facilities to provide an inclusive environment for disabled spectators.
Accessible parking areas located close to the stadiums will be available for disabled spectators who have a valid parking pass. From accessible parking areas, accessible transport points, shuttle services and / or rest points will be provided at most stadiums to assist disabled spectators in reaching the entrances. All stadiums will have shuttle services within the stadium grounds.
Other matchday services offered to disabled spectators include a wheelchair loan service, audio-descriptive commentary, accessible toilets, low-level counters or priority lanes at concessions, and volunteers trained in disability awareness.
Each stadium also offers Special Access seating which includes:
- Wheelchair user spaces
- Standard easy access seating for disabled people who do not use a wheelchair, but who require a seat that is easily accessible
- Easy access amenity seating for disabled people who require easily accessible seating with extra leg room for crutches, walking aids or space for assistance dogs
- Easy access extra-width seating for obese people
To find out more about access and inclusion in Russia, or for specific information on accessibility around the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ and its host cities, please contact our colleagues at the Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE), or visit cafefootball.eu.
CAFE have also co-authored a Spectator’s Accessibility Guide together with FIFA and the LOC ahead of the upcoming FIFA World Cup.