Saudi women creates history by watching soccer match

Saudi women to attend football game for first time

The women entered the stadium through a special gate, while male supporters filed in through a separate entrance. "Ittihad fans, male and female, are the support of this club, and success is not complete without them coming together to serve this historic entity", the club tweeted.

Saudi women will be allowed for the first time to enter a sports stadium to watch a soccer match between two local teams, though they will be segregated from the male-only crowd with designated seating in the so-called "family section".

The company plans to open more automobiles showrooms for women in the oil-rich kingdom.

The initiative to allow women into stadiums is part of the government's Vision 2030 program, spearheaded by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and aimed at giving more freedom to women.

Saleh al-Ziadi brought his three daughters to the game.

Ruwayda Ali Qassem, another Jeddah resident, spoke of a "historic day in the kingdom which culminates (in) ongoing fundamental changes".

"I came with my father and my brother - we're fans of Al-Ahli", said university student Areej al-Ghamdi, adding that she had always cheered the club from home."This is the first time we'll be cheering for real, not just in front of the television", she told the Agence France-Presse. "They have not yet realised they will be cheering their favourite team inside the stadium", he said.

State-owned Saudi Airlines announced prizes of free tickets for five families who want to travel between cities to watch games. "It's a day of happiness and joy".

Fatimah Baeshen, spokeswoman at the Saudi embassy in Washington "rooted for the ladies" in a message on Twitter. "I'm rooting for the ladies - enjoy!"

The stadium in the capital Riyadh will open to women tomorrow, followed by the western city of Dammam on Thursday.

A hashtag, translated as "the people welcome the entry of women into stadiums", was used tens of thousands of times in two hours as the match took place.

On Thursday, Jeddah held Saudi Arabia's first auto exhibition aimed at women, a few months after Saudi Arabia announced it would grant them the right to drive.

And the result of yesterday's game?

Al-Ahl beat their opponents 5-0 in the Saudi Professional League clash.

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