Saudi Arabia women score right to watch men's football in stadiums

Fans watch a match at the King Abdullah Sports City stadium in Jeddah

This easing of the strict gender segregation was announced as a part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's ambitious reforms.

The order opened the previously male-only venues of King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, and Prince Mohammed Bin Fahd Stadium in Dammam to accommodate families.

Lamya Khaled Nasser, a 32-year-old football fan from Jeddah, told AFP she was proud and looked forward to the match.

"I am proud and extremely happy for this development and for the kingdom's moves to catch up with civilised measures adopted by many countries", she said before the scheduled 8pm (5pm GMT) kick-off.


The first stadium to open its doors to women was in the Red Sea city of Jiddah.

The Saudi General Sports Authority made a statement that it is ready to make all the compulsory preparations to generate an attractive sports ambiance for families and to make sure their privacy. An all-female team of stewards helped steer them to their seats.

Dressed in headscarves and long flowing abbayas the women filed into the stadium, ushered by women in orange T-shirts over their conservative dress, to take up seats at the "family section" of the stands, separate from the male spectators.

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