Saudi women creates history by watching soccer match

Saudi women attend sports event for first time

Saudi Arabia: Women watch football match in stadium for first time

It was a historic moment in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Friday night at King Abdullah Sports City stadium, not because Al-Ahli F.C. beat Al-Batin F.C. 5-0, but because women could walk through the venue's doors.

At the stadium in Jeddah, female ushers were employed to greet the women fans and their families, who loudly cheered on the local team.

Friday's match was the first in a series that will be open to women: a second is due to take place on Saturday and a third on January 18.

After achieving the right to drive, it appears that women in Saudi Arabia are bent on extirpating the unfair rules prevailing in the country.

"Family sections" are ubiquitous across the kingdom, allowing married couples, direct relatives and sometimes groups of friends to sit together, isolated from male-only tables at restaurants and in waiting areas at banks and hospitals. "Some thought it wouldn't be very safe or organised", said Swick, who attended the game with her Saudi husband and son, and her American mother.

"I am very proud to be a witness of this massive change".

"I definitely think we will come back", she said.

Saudi women attend sports event for first time

Some people used the hashtag online to write that women should stay at home to focus on children and preserving their faith, and not at a stadium packed with males.

The Islamic kingdom has announced a series of reforms initiated by powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman since a year ago.

However, strict guardianship laws are still in place, which forbid women from marrying without a male relative's content, traveling overseas and securing a passport.

The country's large new stadiums were built with hundreds of millions of dollars when oil prices were almost double what they are now. The game marked the first time women were allowed to attend a major sporting event in the kingdom.

Both teams sold female shirts at discount prices to attract women supporters, Saudi media reported.

Saudi women made a new history on Friday by attended the Saudi professional League game in Jeddah, an activity that was limited to men for decades.


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