Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

New Sound at Saudi Soccer Game: Women Cheering From the Stands

New Sound at Saudi Soccer Game: Women Cheering From the Stands

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

Tough measures against high profile individuals are one of many steps Saudi Arabia has taken to initiate solid economic and social reforms, such as allowing women to drive.

However, the women had to sit in a "family section" of the stadium so that they would be separated from the male spectators.

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Women will also be allowed to attend a match on Saturday in the capital Riyadh and on January 18 in the eastern city of Dammam.

A Saudi private company on Thursday opened the first vehicle showroom for women only just five months before a decision allowing females to drive takes effect.

The match was hosted at King Abdullah Sports City stadium and featured Al Ahli against Al Batin in the Saudi Pro-League.

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The so-called "family sections" were created to keep women separated from the male-only crowds, while the stadium was also fitted with female prayer areas and restrooms. The women however had to enter through designated turnstiles for women and families. The sections also include women out on their own or in groups with other women.

"A lot of people wanted to wait and see how it is. I am very proud to be a witness of this massive change", she told the AFP news agency.

Evidence is being collected against "fugitives" in order to issue indictments against them and request that foreign governments return them to the kingdom, Saud al-Muajab told Arrajol magazine in an interview published on Thursday.

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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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