Saudi women to be allowed into sports stadiums next year

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Saudi Arabia will permit ladies into sports activities stadiums as of subsequent yr, the dominion’s newest step towards easing guidelines on gender segregation – however they are going to be seated within the so-referred to as household part, an space separate from the male-solely crowd.

Nonetheless, the choice, introduced on Sunday, marks one other incremental step towards larger ladies’s rights within the kingdom.

The Common Sports activities Authority described the choice as one that may permit “households” into the stadiums – a time period authorities use to seek advice from the general public areas that accommodate ladies.

These “household” sections are for ladies who’re out on their very own or who’re accompanied by a male family member. Many eating places and cafes, which frequently even have separate entrances for ladies, have equally segregated seating preparations.

The authority stated the three main sports activities stadiums within the capital, Riyadh, and the cities of Jiddah and Dammam will bear renovations to accommodate households.

The choice comes after the general public appeared to welcome a choice to permit ladies to drive for the primary time subsequent yr. Many additionally responded enthusiastically when ladies have been allowed into the Riyadh stadium for nationwide day celebrations final month.

It is a stark reversal from years of permitting solely males into the stadiums, many constructed with lots of of hundreds of thousands of dollars when oil costs have been almost double what they’re now. The federal government spent lavishly on the stadiums in an effort to appease its majority younger inhabitants and supply areas for followers desperate to cheer on native golf equipment, in addition to maintain nationwide parades and ceremonies.

Two years in the past, a Saudi lady was arrested whereas attending a soccer recreation in Jiddah’s al-Jawhara stadium, which opened to the general public in 2014. Police have been quoted in native media on the time as saying that safety noticed her on the stadium “intentionally disguised” in pants, an extended-sleeve prime, a hat and sun shades to keep away from detection.

Most girls in Saudi Arabia cowl their hair and face with a veil and all ladies are required to put on an abaya, a unfastened black gown, in public.

Through the years, although, there have been some exceptions for overseas ladies. In 2015, an Australian feminine supporter of Western Sydney Wanderers soccer membership was permitted to attend a match at Riyadh’s essential stadium and a…

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