CHANGE: Saudi Arabia women watch football game in stadium for the first time ever

Saudi Arabia women were allowed to enter a football stadium for the first time to watch a match, as the ultra-conservative kingdom eases strict decades-old rules separating the sexes.

The first football match women are being allowed to attend was a clash between Saudi Premier League clubs Al-Ahli and Al-Batin in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

Riyadh, known for imposing harsh restrictions on women, announced it was lifting a ban prohibiting them from driving, as well as reopening cinemas which led to the new law to allow woman to come to stadium to watch matches.

Women supporters, were all wearing the traditional black abaya robe, as anxiety, they arrived well ahead of kick-off in the Jeddah stadium, some in sunglasses and others with loose-fitting veils.

The Saudi government said women would be allowed to attend a third next Thursday.

The Islamic kingdom has announced a series of reforms initiated by powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman since last year.

The game was scheduled to kick off at 8:00 pm (1700 GMT), but enthusiasm for the historic encounter began well before the kick-off.

The kingdom, which has some of the world’s tightest restrictions on women, has long barred them from sports arenas through strict rules that keep the sexes apart in public.

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