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Saudi Arabia Says It Will Allow Women To Enter Sports Stadiums

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (file photo)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (file photo)

Saudi Arabia says it will allow women into sports stadiums for the first time starting new year, as restrictions on women continue to ease in the ultraconservative Gulf nation.

The announcement by the General Sports Authority (GSA) on October 29 follows a move in September by the government to allow women to drive cars for the first time.

The changes are in line with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s "Vision 2030" reform plan to shake up the nation by relaxing some laws and developing the economy beyond its traditional oil-fueled base.

The GSA said on Twitter that it was "starting the preparation of three stadiums in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam to be ready to accommodate families from early 2018."

Under Saudi Arabia’s traditionally strict guardian system, a male family member must grant permission for a woman to study, travel, and to participate in other activities.

Media reports have indicated the Saudis are also likely in the near future to eliminate a public ban on cinemas.

Based on reporting by AFP, Arab News, and