Saudi Arabia to open sports stadiums to women from 2018

Families attend a event at King Fahad Stadium in Riyadh for Saudi National Day. (Arab News photo)
Updated 30 October 2017

Saudi Arabia to open sports stadiums to women from 2018

JEDDAH: Women’s empowerment will take another step forward at the beginning of 2018 when families are permitted inside stadiums and other sports facilities.
It was one of a raft of decisions announced on Sunday by Turki Al-Asheikh, chairman of the General Sports Authority, aimed at supporting and stimulating the sports sector.
The authority “will start rehabilitating the main stadiums in Riyadh, Dammam and Jeddah to be ready to receive families starting in 2018,” Al-Asheikh said.
The move is part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to engage women in society as an integral part of the development process.
This month Al-Asheikh, who is also president of the Saudi Olympic Committee, appointed Princess Reema bint Bandar president of the Saudi Federation for Community Sports.
Princess Reema has also opened the new Studio 5 gym in Jeddah.  She seeks to encourage women to take exercise in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Last month, women were invited with their families to a sports stadium for the first time to attend annual National Day celebrations. Such venues had previously been male only.


Two new academies to boost Saudi arts, heritage and music

Updated 19 August 2019

Two new academies to boost Saudi arts, heritage and music

  • One academy specializing in heritage and traditional arts and crafts will start receiving applications in autumn 2020
  • A second academy dedicated to music will receive 1,000 students and trainees from 2021

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is to set up arts academies, including two in the next two years, offering a step toward academic qualification and enlarging the Kingdom’s footprint in heritage, arts and crafts, and music.

The initiative is part of the Ministry of Culture’s Quality of Life program. 

The minister, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan, said investment in “capacity building” was one of the most important elements in encouraging the cultural sector, which enjoyed unlimited support from King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Kingdom was rich in diverse arts, talents and artistic production, Prince Badr said, and the academies would be a first step toward academic qualification in the arts within the Kingdom.

One academy specializing in heritage and traditional arts and crafts will start receiving applications in autumn 2020, targeting 1,000 students and trainees in long- and short-term programs. 

A second academy dedicated to music will receive 1,000 students and trainees from 2021.

The music academy in particular will be “the core of music production and talent development in Saudi Arabia,” Saudi musician, composer and producer Mamdouh Saif told Arab News.

The music industry was a large and diverse field, Saif said, and education was crucial. 

“The academy is the right place to launch the music industry in Saudi Arabia, and it will have a significant impact on Saudi youth, and young people in surrounding countries,” he said.

He expects “a very high turnout” for the academy among young Saudis. 

“Due to my expertise in this area, I receive many questions from people who want to learn music, but through private lessons,” he said.

“But the availability of an academy for this purpose, that teaches music in a methodological way, will be the right start for those interested in music.”