Saudi women attend football game for the first time

Female Saudi supporters of Al Ahli queue at an entrance for families and women at the King Abdullah Sports City

Female Saudi supporters of Al Ahli queue at an entrance for families and women at the King Abdullah Sports City

"I am very proud to be a witness of this massive change", she told the AFP news agency.

Ruwayda Ali Qassem, another Jeddah resident, said Friday was a "historic day in the kingdom which culminates [in] ongoing fundamental changes".

"I am proud and extremely happy for this development", she said.

Swick, who grew up in Maryland and has been living in Saudi Arabia for the past nine years, has attended football games in the USA and soccer matches in France, but said she was impressed with how organized Friday night's match was.

Earlier on Friday, ahead of the football game, there was another small sign of change: the country's first vehicle showroom dedicated to female customers was opened. But some people used the hash tag to criticize the event, writing that the place of women is in their homes, focusing on their children and preserving their faith, and not at a stadium where male crowds may curse and get rowdy.

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Parekh said, "We are progressing towards stability and are well positioned to serve our clients in the new areas of demand". COO Pravin Rao said: "Increased adoption of our digital offerings and new services helped stabilize price realization".

Al-Ittihad, one of the country's top football clubs, is scheduled to play in a derby game in front of mixed spectators on Saturday. Most restaurants and cafes have two sections, one for just men and one for families, which are for women and their husbands and families. "With you, the scene is complete".

The kingdom has also announced that starting in June women will be allowed to drive, lifting the world's only ban on female drivers.

"The general sports authority has provided everything that would create an attractive sports environment for families and provide everything needed to ensure their privacy", the country's sports governing body said in a statement.

Ahead of the game on Friday, clubs took to Twitter to encourage women to attend, with some even offering the traditional abaya robe in team colours. An all-female team of stewards helped steer them to their seats.

However, the women had to sit in a "family section" of the stadium so that they would be separated from the male spectators. This is more than women's rights: today's match between Al-Ahli and Al-Batin, and the ones to follow, are opportunities for families to come together and enjoy KSA's national sport - soccer!

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