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On October 17, 2022, Karim Benzema became the 5th French player to win the supreme title: the Ballon d’Or. A pride for France, but more particularly for Lyon, birthplace of KB9… and Awabot. A common point that makes the presence of our devices on the red carpet of the ceremony all the more memorable. Here is a look at the interactions between the personalities present at the event and Wassim & Nidhal, connected in telepresence from the hospital.

Telepresence at the Ballon d’Or, an initiative that goes on

For the third consecutive year, two young soccer fans who are hospitalized were present on the red carpet. In partnership with the Équipe Fondaction, the Premiers de Cordée and APPEL associations, the renewal of this initiative is a tremendous pleasure for the fans who, despite their isolation in the hospital room, are able to interact with the football stars they have admired for so many years. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle of the event, the BeamPro® telepresence robots are a kind of timeless interlude where celebrities often take the time to talk more fully with the connected children. The screen barrier is quickly forgotten and the celebrities appreciate this more down-to-earth moment of exchange with members of their community.

2022 Ballon d’Or: Lyon’s robotics and Lyon’s champion

Wassim and Nidhal are not ready to forget this Monday, October 17! From their rooms at the Necker Hospital (Paris) and the Léon Bérard Center (Lyon), the magic of telepresence allowed them to enter the Théâtre du Châtelet, in the heart of the Ballon d’Or ceremony, right next to the photocall where celebrities from all over the world are parading around. Zinédine Zidane, Kylian Mbappé, Alexia Putellas, and Robert Lewandowski, among others, came to exchange and take a picture with our two young soccer fans connected in telepresence robot. The most expected man of the evening, the winner of the supreme title, Karim Benzema, even took the time to sign a soccer shirt for Wassim and Nidhal.

The two teenagers were also able to chat with Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon, Lyna Khoudri, Sofiane Zermani (Fianso) or Riadh Belaïche (Just Riadh). In other words, it is with stars in their eyes that Wassim and Nidhal attended the event, an enchanted parenthesis that allowed them to escape from the hospital for a moment.

Soccer and Telepresence

Many of the players present at the ceremony had already come across a telepresence robot. Indeed, several clubs are equipped with their own devices, often customized with the team’s colors. In 2016, the Olympique Lyonnais was the first European club to equip itself with a telepresence robot through its foundation. The FC Barcelona has also equipped itself with telepresence as part of its Robot Pol project. Since 2019, the Paris Saint-Germain Endowment Fund and Foundation, for their part, have been offering “Dreamy” evenings to hospitalized sick children, via the telepresence robot named “Dreamy”. The French football clubs AS Saint Etienne, Girondins de Bordeaux, and more recently Angers SCO have also welcomed connected robots in their teams, allowing young hospitalized patients to be close to the stadiums and follow the training sessions of their favorite team.

© Paris Saint-Germain FC

© Miguel Ruiz – FC Barcelona

Telepresence robots are beneficial for all ages, for all types of disabled people in the world of soccer, but not only! You have a telepresence project to promote inclusion? Contact us!