Saudi Arabia inaugurates women’s football league

Sports authorities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have inaugurated women’s football league.

This is the latest step by the defiant reformist Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to shrug off the ultra-conservative image of the kingdom.

The first season of the 500,000 riyals ($133,000) league for women over 17 will be staged in the cities of Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam, the government-run Saudi Sports for All Federation said on Tuesday.

The sports federation was quoted by AFP report as saying “The launch of the (league) bolsters women’s participation in sports at the community level and will generate increased recognition for women’s sports achievements.”

This development marks a new leap for Saudi women, who were first allowed to enter a football stadium to watch a match in January 2018.

The kingdom has had a long history of some of the world’s tightest restrictions on women, barring women from sports arenas.

However, it is now seeking to boost women’s participation in sports.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the De facto leader of the Kingdom, has introduced a series of reforms including allowing concerts, reopening cinemas, and lifting a prohibition on women driving as part of a modernisation drive.

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