Saudi women enter stadium for first time to watch soccer match

In yet another first, the doors of sports stadiums in Saudi Arabia were opened to women as Round 17 of the Saudi Professional League kicked off at King Abdullah Sport City stadium in Jeddah on Friday with a clash between Al Ahli club of Jeddah and al-Batin of Hafar Al-Batin. Around 300 women attended the event. Many of them wore face paint and colours of one of the two teams. Pictures of fans flying club colours were posted by Saudi newspaper Okaz. On Saturday, King Fahad International Stadium in Riyadh will welcome families for the match between Al Hilal and Al Ittihad. The third match will be played in Dammam on January 18. The kingdom has designated “family sections” in the stands for women at all the stadiums. Women spectators have separate restrooms, entrances and parking lots. The move is part of the wider liberalization drive. In October last year, the kingdom’s General Sports Authority had announced that stadiums in Jeddah, Riyadh, and Dammam would be altered to allow for family visits.