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Saudi Arabian women to attend first professional Football match

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Today will be a great day for football in Saudi Arabia as their female citizens will be allowed to attend a professional football match for the first time.

For the first time Saudi Arabian women will be able to enter a Saudi Arabian stadium to watch a professional game in the Saudi Premier League. The long-standing ban was abrogated last October in three Stadiums: in Riyadh, Jeddah and city of Dammam who will have special sections for female fans.

Women from other countries could enter stadiums as during the final of 2014 Asian Champions League, females supporters of Western Sydney Wanderers were allowed into the King Fahd Stadium whereas females supporters of home team Al-Hilal were preventing from watching their favourite team.

This step towards equality seems like an obvious step after last September when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman allowed women to step into a stadium in Riyadh to celebrate the country’s national day.

Saudia Arabia has many continental titles at club and country levels. The national team even reached the second round during their first participation in the World Cup in 1994 and they qualified for their fifth World Cup last September.

Indeed, Ghadah Grrah, fan of Al-Hilal told The Guardian: "Saudi women have long been involved in the culture of football, this was never applicable to men only. If a woman is at the stadium with her husband, father or brother, the players will be more excited. We have been waiting for a long time and this is a new feeling for everyone. I think it will be a wonderful event."

Jeddah-based journalist Aseel Bashraheel added that : "There were those who welcomed the decision and expressed their eagerness to attend a family-oriented football match. And then there were others who believed the decision goes against Saudi’s culture and tradition. Society is changing in Saudi Arabia but I also believe there’s always room for more change."

According to representatives of the Saudi Arabian Premier League, there has been negative reaction on social media. Nevertheless, they are expecting a major influx of women for the opening games and predicting that their number will gradually increase over the coming months and years.

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