Women attend Football Matches in Saudi Arabia for the First Time

14 January, 2018, 00:43 | Author: Edward Snyder
  • Women attend Football Matches in Saudi Arabia for the First Time

Saudi women were in the stands to watch Al-Ahli versus Al-Batin face each other in the city of Jeddah on Friday, just months before the national team kick off the Federation Internationale de Football Association 2018 World Cup against host Russia, in the opening match of the tournament on June 14 at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. "Ittihad fans, male and female, are the support of this club, and success is not complete without them coming together to serve this historic entity", the club tweeted.

The stadiums have also been fitted with female restrooms and separate entrances and parking lots for female spectators. Most restaurants and cafes have two sections, one for just men and one for families, which are for women and their husbands and families. "Some thought it wouldn't be very safe or organized", said Swick, who attended the game with her Saudi husband and son, and her American mother.

The Saudi government said last week women would be allowed to attend a second match on Saturday and a third next Thursday. On Friday, Al-Ahli trounced Al-Batin 5-0 in the Premier League match, according to the Saudi Gazette.

Some used the hashtag to share photos of female spectators wearing their team's colors in scarves thrown over their abayas.

Women attend Football Matches in Saudi Arabia for the First Time

This easing of the strict gender segregation was announced in October 2017, as a part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's ambitious reforms to modernise Saudi society and boost the economy.

There are still many things women are unable to do without permission, such as applying for passports, travelling overseas, opening a bank account and starting certain businesses.

In 2015, an Australian female supporter of Western Sydney Wanderers soccer club was permitted to attend a match at Riyadh's main stadium and a group of American women traveling with a U.S. Congress delegation also watched a local club match there.




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