Women in Saudi Arabia to attend football matches on Friday for first time

Women in Arabia would be allowed attend football matches on Friday  first time in the conservative kingdom, authorities said on Monday.

Female fans would enter major sports stadiums in the Kingdom attend three football matches involving local sides as part of the Professional League competition, the government-run Centre for Communication said statement.

The three fixtures are scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Jan. 18, the statement added without further details.

In October, the General Sports Authority, a state agency, said that as of early 2018 three stadiums, up male-only facilities, would be prepared be ready for families, including allocation of special places for seating and entrances.

They are King Fahd Stadium in the Riyadh, King Abdullah Sports City in the western city of Jeddah, and Prince Mohammed bin Fahd Stadium in Dammam in eastern Saudi Arabia.

In September, Saudi King Salman Abdelaziz issued a royal order allowing women to drive, breaking a longstanding tradition as reforms in the conservative kingdom gather pace.

Powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is believed to have championed lifting the ban as he is seeking to open up the country and revamp its image.

Mohammed, 32, has vowed that the kingdom would return to “moderate Islam’’ as he works on reducing the influence of the hard-line religious establishment in the country. (dpa/NAN)