In Summary
  • Women from across the vast Gulf kingdom may be able to take advantage of this new freedom.
  • Saudis splurge billions of dollars annually on entertainment in the neighbouring tourist hubs.

RIYADH

Sports stadiums in Saudi Arabia will open their doors to women to attend football matches for the first time ever on Friday, the government has announced.

"The first match that women will be allowed to watch will be Al-Ahli versus Al-Batin on Friday January 12," the ministry of information said in a statement on Monday.

It said women would also be able to attend a second match on the following day and a third one on January 18.

ARENA

Women from across the vast Gulf kingdom may be able to take advantage of this new freedom as the first match will be held in the capital Riyadh, the second in Jeddah on the Red Sea and the third in the eastern city of Dammam.

The kingdom, which has some of the world's tightest restrictions on women, has long barred women from sports arenas by strict rules on segregation of the sexes in public.

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