Saudi Arabia women in stadiumFayez Nureldine

Saudi Arabia to permit women inside stadiums for first time

The Chairman of the General Authority for Sports in Saudi Arabia has announced that women will be allowed to attend sporting events for the first time starting in January 2018. 

At a press conference, Turki Al-Sheikh confirmed that several stadiums in the country will begin making preparations allow women in the stands. 

Three stadiums — King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, King Abdullah Stadium in Jeddah and Prince Mohammed bin Fahd in Dammam — will be set up to allow women and families to attend. 

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During Saudi Arabia’s national day celebrations last month, women were allowed to enter stadiums for the first time. Women were seated in a family section, separate from single men, and it now appears that one-time occasion will become a permanent fixture at sporting events in the Middle Eastern country. 

Saudi Arabia follows the Wahhabi brand of Sunni Islam, which imposes some of the world’s tightest restrictions on women. 

The country does appear to be reforming some of its tight sanctions on women, however. Last month, Saudi Arabia announced that it would allow women to drive for the first time.