Saudi Arabia will allow women into sports stadiums for the first time from next year, authorities said Sunday, in a landmark move opening up three previously male-only venues to families.
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.
The announcement is in line with powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious reform drive shaking up the ultra-conservative kingdom, including the historic decision to allow women to drive from next June.
“Starting the preparation of three stadiums in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Damman to be ready to accommodate families from early 2018,” the General Sports Authority said on Twitter.
Restaurants, cafes and monitor screens would be set up inside the stadiums, the authority added.
Last month hundreds of women were allowed to enter a sports stadium in Riyadh, used mostly for football matches, for the first time to mark Saudi Arabia’s national day.