Saudi arabia: women attending for the first time to a soccer match

Photo: Stringer / Agence France-Presse
Early supporters have made their entrance into the stadium almost two hours before the kick-off meeting of the professional League of saudi arabia between Al-Ahli and Al-Batin.

Jeddah — Arij al-australia brazil has for years sustained her soccer team favourite at a distance, in front of the television screen at her home in Jeddah. Friday night, this saudi woman has finally been able to do it from the bleachers of a football stadium.

 

For the first time in saudi Arabia, women were allowed on Friday evening to attend a soccer match, the last event date of the opening societal displayed by the authorities.

 

“I came to the stadium with my father and my brother. We are all fans of the team of Al-Ahli, ” said the student, the green scarf of the club around the neck, telling it all the time when his house was transformed into a club of amateurs.

 

“Today, for the first time, we’re going to move this atmosphere in the stadium, far from the television screens that crop the image and do not make us live all the excitement,” continued the young woman, dressed in the abaya and traditional black.

 

Leaving a glimpse of a pair of jeans under the abaya and the face sometimes eaten by black sunglasses, the early supporters have made their entrance into the stadium almost two hours before the kick-off meeting of the professional League of saudi arabia between Al-Ahli and Al-Batin.

 

Alone or accompanied by their family, nearly 300 women have joined the seats were reserved in the stadium of Jeddah, the kingdom prohibiting the mixing of the sexes in public places.

 

This evening is the final illustration of the recent reforms, societal, launched by the authorities and widely publicized, which include an easing of restrictions imposed on women. These are for example allowed to drive after the month of June.

 

But in this country governed by a form of rigorist of sunni islam, women still have to wear the full veil in public, and have the consent of a male guardian — father, husband or brother — to travel or to study.

 

The opening, even shy, and is assigned to the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, a 32-year-old, who presents himself as a modernizing in this kingdom is conservative, where more than half of the population is under the age of 25 years.

 

Enthusiasm palpable

 

Well before the first whistle at 20 h, the enthusiasm was palpable in the streets and on social networks. But also visible on the face of Saleh Ziadi with his three girls in front of the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah.

 

“My girls did not believe they were not aware that they were going to attend the match of their favourite team,” says the father, used to make the trip alone.

 

Around them, women are active to rummage through the spectators and then direct them to their seats.

 

At the end of October, Riyadh has allowed women to attend sporting events in three stages of the country from 2018, including Jeddah. After the game Friday, a meeting will be held on Saturday and a third on the 18th of January.

 

“I watched the matches on tv while my brothers were going to look at the stage,” recalls Noura Bakhrji.

 

“I had the heart tight each time I saw them back and they told me” their game, ” she adds.

 

“Several times I asked myself : “Why can’t I go there ?” But today things have changed, ” says the young woman.

 

An optimism shared by Lamia Nasser, a resident of Jeddah, a 32-year old who sees this event as the sign of a future “prosperous” for Saudi women.

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