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Women in football have never existed in Saudi Arabia. Now, female spectators followed a first-division game in the stadium – strictly separate from the men.

Saudi Arabia: For the first time, women are allowed to

Women in football have never existed in Saudi Arabia. Now, female spectators followed a first-division game in the stadium – strictly separate from the men.

Saudi Arabia: For the first time, women are allowed to

For first time in history of Saudi Arabia, women were officially in stadium at a football match. Local media showed photos on which y entered stadium on Friday in coastal town of Jeddah on Red Sea with scarves in Fanfarben of clubs al-Ahli and Al-Batin. Inside, women had to spend game in specially created family areas and were separated from men. All wore a Abaja, a long black coat. Many had sunglasses or loosely bonded headscarves. In coming days, two more games will be available for women, including one in capital city of Riyadh.

On internet videos, which were just before start of first league game, it can be seen that stadium equipped for more than 62,000 fans is hardly visited. The majority of seats had remained empty. "I am very proud to witness this huge change," said one of participants. Anor woman spoke of a "historic day". She said she was "proud and very happy" that Saudi Arabia is now equating with "civilized measures" in or countries.

The new regulation is first social reform in new year that grants women more rights. To this end, so-called family sections were created in several football stadiums in country, where female spectators find space separate from men. In addition, stadiums were equipped with women's toilets, separate entrances and own parking spaces for spectators.

Furr reforms in sight

Strict social rules apply in Islamic-conservative kingdom. Under leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, however, royal house wants to enforce some reforms for women. Shortly after taking office in June, Salman announced a departure from ultraconservative religious principles.

This year, women should also be allowed to drive car. On last national day at end of September, women were allowed to attend a celebration at national stadium in Riyadh. In addition, after 35 years, Saudi Arabia raised ban on cinema in country. The first commercial cinemas will be opened in March. Licenses would be issued immediately. Concerts are also to be allowed again.

Saudi Arabia is dominated by Wahhabism, a particularly strict interpretation of Islam. The ruling house of Al-Saud had already closed an alliance with Wahhabi religious scholars in middle of 18th century, which has existed to this day and has given scholars far-reaching influence on practice of religion and life in Saudi Arabia.

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