Saudi women creates history by watching soccer match

Saudi women creates history by watching soccer match

For the first time in history, women in Saudi Arabia have been allowed to attend a football match in Jeddah.

On Thursday, Jeddah held Saudi Arabia's first vehicle exhibition aimed at women, a few months after the Kingdom announced it would grant them the right to drive.

Alone or accompanied by their families, many women sat in reserved seats in Jeddah's Pearl stadium.

In October, the Saudi General Sports Authority, a state agency, announced that three stadiums, up to now male-only facilities, would be prepared to be ready for families, including the allocation of special places for seating and entrances.

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On Saturday, the national stadium in the capital, Riyadh, will open its gates for women to attend a soccer game.

The arenas set up the "family sections" already used by other venues in Saudi Arabia, but also added female prayer areas and rest rooms. The women however had to enter through designated turnstiles for women and families.

According to the Saudi Gazette, Al-Ahli trounced Al-Batin 5-0 in the Premier League match.

An Arabic hashtag on Twitter about women entering stadiums garnered tens of thousands of tweets on Friday, with some using the hashtag to share photos of female spectators wearing their team's colors in scarves thrown over their black abayas.

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Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is seen as the driving force behind the loosened restrictions on women.

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 decision to allow women to attend a mixed public sporting event is one of many changes the country has undergone in recent months, hailed as proof of a new progressive trend in the deeply conservative Muslim Kingdom, Reuters said in a report.

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