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The order opened the previously male-only venues of King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, and Prince Mohammed Bin Fahd Stadium in Dammam to accommodate families.

The Saudi government revealed that there would be two more such occasions in Jeddah in the coming weeks and that all the nations football grounds will ready for female fans by the start of the next football season.

But these rules have begun to change under King Salman, who became the Saudi monarch in 2015, and are driven by his son, Mohammed bin Salman, 32, the country's crown prince.

Now, women attending games must remain in designated "family sections", which are separate from other, all-male portions of the bleachers.

The women showed up in the stadium with their spouses and children to support al-Ahli and al-Batin football clubs.


The notorious driving ban on women was lifted in September 2017, and this week Saudi Arabia will host its first ever women's squash tournament. "I am very proud to be a witness of this massive change", she said.

An Arabic hashtag on Twitter about women entering stadiums garnered tens of thousands of tweets on Friday, with some using the hashtag to share photos of female spectators wearing their team's colors in scarves thrown over their black abayas.

Despite the breakthrough, there are still a host of basic human rights denied to women without the permission of a man, including applying for a passport, travelling overseas, and getting married.

Some 10,000 seats have been allocated for women and families in King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah for the domestic league match between al-Ahly and al-Baten - one of three games that Saudi authorities said women would be allowed to attend this month.


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