Arab News, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Saudi football fans were taken by surprise on Tuesday when a group of American women turned up at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh to watch the football match between Al-Nasr and Shabab.
According to press reports, the group of women included senior consultants of US congressmen.
The Americans were allowed to enter the stadium after Prince Faisal bin Turki, president of Al-Nasr Club, received a letter from the Shoura Council stating that the women were interested in attending the match.
Some of the women were holding yellow jerseys of Al-Nasr.
The news was a big hit on social networking sites because women are not allowed to enter stadiums across the Kingdom to watch football matches.
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It also prompted many Saudi men and women to ask the government to lift the ban on Saudi women entering stadiums to watch football and other matches.
“Why do the authorities allow foreign women to enter stadiums while they deny Saudi women the same privilege,” one person asked.
Al-Nasr Club and the Presidency of Youth Welfare organized the VIP lounge for the American women to watch the match.
“The move was aimed at impressing the Americans with the Kingdom’s advanced sports facilities,” said a presidency official.
Sulaiman Al-Yousuf, manager of King Fahd Stadium, said the presidency instructed the stadium management to allow the women to watch the football match.