Saudi women attend football game for the first time ever
01:11, Jan 15, 2018
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Saudi Arabia allowed women to enter a football stadium for the first time to watch a match Friday, as the ultra-conservative kingdom eases strict decades-old rules separating the sexes.
Friday sees the next match to welcome women spectators, when Jeddah-based Al Ittihad Football Club play against Al Hilal FC in Riyadh's 68,000-seater King Fahd International Stadium.
The Saudi governmentsaid last week women would be allowed to attend a second match on Saturday and a third next Thursday.
"We expect the sales to rise in the hours ahead of the match", said Adel Kabli, the operating manager of e-ticket vendor Makani.
The show comes just a few months after the kingdom lifted a ban on women driving.
Football is the number one sport in Saudi Arabia, where the national team qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation.
App-based vehicle services, Careem and Uber, are in the process of hiring female drivers after Saudi Arabia's King Salman issued a royal decree lifting a ban on women driving (CNN).
The showroom was opened in a shopping mall in the western Red Sea port of Jeddah, five months after King Salman's decision to allow women to drive.
Saudi Arabia's General Sports Authority (GSA) made public the seating arrangements, whereby women will occupy the northern area through gates two, three and four, and the southern area through gates 40, 41 and 42.
Soccer is very popular in Saudi Arabia, with many fans of global and local leagues, but female enthusiasts long had to content themselves with watching their favorite teams on television.
Careem has already received thousands of applications from Saudi women interested in becoming drivers, Elyas says.
Previously women who wanted to drive had to have permission from a guardian in order to be given a driver's licence, and would need a guardian in the auto with them at all times.
On the occasion, Bahrain's police band performed Saudi national anthem which was followed by a parade.
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