Saudi woman under investigation for attending football game
Saudi Arabia has a very strict policy regarding female attendance at football matches. Permissions are needed to allow foreign women to watch the matches in which their home teams play. (AFP/File)
The young Saudi woman who has been referred to the police for questioning after she was apprehended inside a stadium watching a football match said she was not aware of any ban on women attending games.
She told investigators that she went to the stadium confident that she would not be turned away at the gates, local daily Okaz reported on Monday.
The woman, in her 20s, said she did not have any problem buying her ticket online and that she arrived early and chose a place where she would not be in the middle of a crowd.
A short video clip circulating online shows the woman, who was not identified, sitting alone on a bleacher and using her mobile.
The police said they had finished their investigation with the woman who was apprehended as she wore men’s clothes inside the Jawhara Stadium in Jeddah and watched the match between Al Ittihad and Al Shabab.
A spokesperson for the company in charge of organising football matches at the stadium said the woman was able to sneak inside due to her disguise.
“We will not be dragged into the blame game and we stress that no woman will be allowed into the stadium as long as we do not receive formal instructions to reverse the decision,” Ahmad Dhiab was quoted as saying by the daily.
Saudi Arabia has a very strict policy regarding female attendance at football matches. Permissions are needed to allow foreign women to watch the matches in which their home teams play.
Online comments urged authorities to show lenience with the woman, arguing that she did not do any harm and that she sat alone to watch the game.
Football is very popular in the kingdom.
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