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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)
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.

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