Shaking off its ultra conservative image, Saudi Arabia will allow women into three sports stadiums for the first time from 2018, stated Saudi authorities.
Making the announcement on Twitter, General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia said, “Starting the preparation of three stadiums in Riyadh, Jeddah and Damman to be ready to accommodate families from early 2018.”
Notably, the Saudi kingdom, which has one of the globe’s tightest restrictions on women, has barred them from sports activities arenas via strict regulations on segregation of the sexes in public.
Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is taking various ambitious reform measures to shake up the traditional image of Saudi Arabia and the announcement is being seen as a step in this direction. Recently, the kingdom has taken the decision to allow women to drive from next June.
Last month, authorities allowed hundreds of women to throng a sports stadium in Riyadh, used mostly for football matches, for the first time to mark Saudi Arabia's national day.
Last week, the 32-year-old Prince Mohammed pledged a “moderate” Saudi Arabia. He promised his kingdom will go back to “what we were before — a country of moderate Islam that is tolerant of all religions and to the world”.
His remark, is consistent with his image of a daring liberal reformer in a conservative nation.