Saudi Arabian authorities have intensified security around a stadium in the Red Sea city of Jeddah to ensure no woman could sneak in to watch a football match.
The much-awaited match between local team Al Ittihad and the Riyadh-based squad of Al Hilal in the Crown Prince Cup competition was a crowd puller, but the authorities wanted to make sure no woman could enter the 60,000-seat Jawhara Stadium at the King Abdullah Sports City.
Security was beefed up at the main gates and spectators had to show their identity cards to be allowed inside, Saudi daily Makkah reported on Wednesday.
The unusual step was taken after a woman was able this month to sneak past stadium guards to watch a match between Al Ittihad and Al Shabab before she was spotted and referred to the police for questioning.
She told investigators that she was not aware of any ban on women attending games.
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.
Saudi Arabia has a very strict policy regarding female attendance at sports matches. Permissions are needed to allow foreign women to watch the matches in which their home teams play.
Football is highly popular in the kingdom and fans follow with great interest the British, Italian and Spanish leagues.
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