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Mar 4, 2013

WC special seats to be set aside for obese

SAO PAULO -- The 2014 World Cup in Brazil is set to be the first to offer special seats for obese fans.

The seats will be offered to conform to Brazilian legislation, although international supporters will also be entitled to them. FIFA told The Associated Press on Monday that it will be the "first time tickets for obese people are offered at a FIFA event."

The tickets will also be available for the upcoming Confederations Cup, the World Cup warm-up tournament that will be played in Brazil from June 15-30.

The World Cup Bill in Brazil requires that at least 1 percent of seats in each stadium are made available for disabled people, a category that includes the obese, wheelchair users and those with limited mobility.

FIFA said that to qualify for a ticket, people are required to submit a medical certificate that proves they have a body mass index of 30 or more, as recognized by the Brazilian Ministry of Health and World Health Organization.

"FIFA is generally following local legislation of the host countries, and is in Brazil guided by the General FIFA World Cup Bill and a separate decree related to obese people," football's governing body said. "The number of tickets available for disabled people depends on the infrastructure provisions of each stadium and the distribution between seats."

FIFA said tickets for disabled people are usually the price of Category 3 tickets, which international fans can purchase.

Final numbers on the seats available for obese fans at the Confederation Cup have not been confirmed because construction is still under way in some stadiums, with only two of the six having been delivered so far. FIFA gave the host cities until April 15 to have all the venues ready. World Cup stadiums must be completed by the end of the year.

Specific details on the size of the seats were also not immediately available.

The Arena Castelao in the northeast city of Fortaleza has 1,675 seats from its total of 63,903 made available for people with disabilities, 120 of those for obese fans, according to the Brazilian government.

"The seats are spread throughout the lower ring and cater for views from all angles of the pitch," the government said. "The places are well placed in relation to the speakers and there are adequate signposts."

According to Brazilian legislation, the 2016 Rio Olympics will also have to offer seats for obese fans.

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