Brazilian Disability Laws require that the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) provide at least one percent of its seats to disabled people, which includes the obese. The 2014 World Cup, set to be held in Brazil, will mark the first time special seats will be provided to obese fans.
A CTV News Article outlines the requirements for obese fans to be eligible for a ticket for the World Cup. To qualify, they must be able to provide medical documentation that they are obese according to standards set forth by the Brazilian Ministry of Health and World Health Organization (WHO). The Brazilian Ministry of Health and WHO classify obesity as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or greater. The price for the special tickets will be the same as for Category 3 tickets, and will also be available for international fans to purchase.
Of the six stadiums that will hold this year’s Confederation Cup events, only two have completed construction. The final numbers of obese seats to be offered has not been released, but according to the Brazilian government, Arena Castelão in Fortaleza, which holds 63,903 seats, has made 120 seats available for its obese fans out of the 1,675 seats set aside for people with disabilities. The 12 stadiums hosting next year’s World Cup must be complete by the end of the year.
Obesity in Brazil is becoming a growing problem, according to a recent BBC News article. In the four years from 2006-2011, the obesity rates among Brazilians rose nearly six percent, from 42.7% to 48.5%. The Brazil health ministry blames the consumption of high-fat and processed foods for the increase, and is taking steps to reduce fat content in processed foods and increase funding for school programs aimed at health education and sports.
Obesity that rises to the level of disability under Brazilian law is protected under the country’s legal framework. Law 7853 provides numerous protections for the rights of people with disabilities, including accessibility to all public and common use areas. Brazilian government officials announced that for the World Cup, “The seats are spread throughout the lower ring and cater for views from all angles of the pitch…The places are well placed in relation to the speakers and there are adequate signposts.”
In addition to the World Cup, future public sporting events in Brazil will also offer accommodations for the disabled, including the obese, as required under Brazilian legislation. The 2016 Rio Olympics, for instance, will be required to provide special seats for obese fans. Accessibility is not a simple task to execute, but public venues in Brazil must ensure that their facilities undergo the necessary modifications to accommodate the disabled in compliance with disability laws, or they run the risk of being subjected to costly litigation.