Saudi Arabia to allow women in stadiums from 2018

Saudi Women wearing Hijab used to illustrate the story [Photo: Hindu Times]

Saudi Arabia will for the first time allow women to attend sports events, preparing special sections in three selected stadiums from early next year.

It is another step toward opening public spaces to women, a statement from the country’s General Sports Authority, and carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, has indicated.

The stadiums in Jeddah, Dammam and Riyadh will be set up to accommodate families from early 2018, it had added.

Last month, Saudi Arabia announced that, from June, women would be allowed to drive cars, ending the world’s only ban on female driving.

An economic and social reform programme led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman aims to open up cloistered lifestyles.

Such lifestyles have been shaped in part by a strict, conservative version of Sunni Islam which limits the role of women.

Mr. Mohammed also seeks to diversify the economy away from oil as part of his proposed reforms.

The crown prince will be the first Saudi leader since 1953 to hail from a new generation when he inherits the throne.

His father, Mr. Salman, is the sixth brother in a row to serve as king.

The kingdom adheres to an austere Wahhabi brand of Sunni Islam, which bans gender-mixing, concerts and cinemas.

Women are required to receive permission from a male guardian to obtain passports or leave the country.

Some of the social aspects of the reforms have been criticised by some clerics and Saudis on social media.

Saudi authorities are also starting to reform areas once the exclusive domain of the clergy, such as education, courts and the law.

They have promoted elements of national identity that have no religious component or pre-date Islam.

Mr. Mohammed told businessmen and reporters at a major investment forum last week that the country would cleave to a more open and tolerant interpretation of Islam.


NEVER MISS A THING AGAIN! Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required


Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD: To place a text-based advert here. Call Willie - +2347088095401

All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.