FIFA opens obese seats at World Cup

RIO DE JANEIRO - FIFA has reserved more than 4,600 super-sized seats at the 12 World Cup stadiums for obese people.

The 4,676 seats can each bear a spectator weighing up to 250 kilogrammes (550 pounds). They are twice the size of normal seats and also have greater legroom.

The seats are reserved for fans whose body mass index (BMI) is above 30, FIFA told AFP. A BMI greater than 25 is considered overweight, while above 30 is considered obese.

"They were put in place in accordance with Brazilian building regulations and also in line with efforts by FIFA to combat all forms of discrimination and make football accessible to all," a FIFA spokesman said.

Better still, a friend can come free.

"As with all seats reserved for people with limited mobility, these seats are come with free entry for one person accompanying them," FIFA said.

The tickets are category three - considerably cheaper than the top two catagories and are spread around the stadiums.

To avoid potential fraud. those using obese tickets must present a medical certificate at the stadium.

World Cup regulations specify that at least one per cent of seats are reserved for people of reduced mobility, including those who are obese.

Brazil has in recent years seen the number of overweight people shoot up, to 48.5 per cent in 2011 from 42.7 in 2006, while 15.8 per cent are considered obese.