‘We will cheer until our throats go sore’: Saudi women celebrate at Riyadh football match

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The decision allowing Saudi women in stadiums was first announced in October. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
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Female fans arrive at the stadium. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
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Scores of women signed a board to mark their attendance at the historic match. (Social media)
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Fun activities at the King Fahd International Stadium. (Saudi Professional League photo)
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(AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
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(AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
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(AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
Updated 14 January 2018
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‘We will cheer until our throats go sore’: Saudi women celebrate at Riyadh football match

RIYADH: History was made in Jeddah on Friday night — and then came Riyadh’s turn.

Pink tickets were issued for today’s football match between Al-Hilal and Al-Ittihad, the second since a ban on women attending games in Saudi Arabia was lifted.

There was cheer in the capital as women started arriving at the King Fahd International Stadium, with face painting, food trucks and other fun activities outside the ground.
A pink ticket for the game (AN Photo)

Scores of women signed a board to mark their attendance at the historic match.
Inside the stadium, women were waving flags and singing team anthems as the game kicked off.
Siham, an Al-Ittihad fan, said she had never felt happier, or more free.
“I’m quite surprised by the turn out! I assumed families will attend, which is true. However, the amount of ladies coming together in groups to have a good time and enjoy the match overweighs the number of families,” she told Arab News.
Layla, another fan in the crowd, said: “This is a joyous day; tonight we all stand together, teams aren’t the main focal point; us attending is. And we will cheer until our throats go sore.”
Amid the contagious excitement of the crowd, a further cheer erupted as Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan — president of the Saudi Federation for Community Sports, and a champion of women participating in sport — entered the stadium.
Princess Reema waved to the crowd and sat chatting with some fellow fans in the stadium.
One elderly father was with almost 30 female relatives at the game, including his daughters and nieces.
Sitting a few rows back from them, he looked on happily as the ladies cheered and waved their team’s flag.
Fans of both teams sat in the same area — united by both a love of football, and the new freedom to watch it in person.
The game follows Friday night’s showdown at the King Abdullah Sports City stadium in Jeddah, which saw Al-Ahli host Al-Batin in a Saudi Pro League meeting.
The decision allowing women in stadiums was first announced on Oct. 29, a month after a historical royal decree lifting the ban on women driving.


Saudi envoy highlights Coalition’s support of humanitarian operations in Yemen

Updated 21 September 2018
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Saudi envoy highlights Coalition’s support of humanitarian operations in Yemen

  • UN official briefd on the plans and projects of the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen

JEDDAH: Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Jaber, Saudi ambassador to Yemen and executive director of the “Isnad” Center for Comprehensive Humanitarian Operations in Yemen, met on Thursday with UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths.

During the meeting, Al-Jaber highlighted Saudi Arabia and the coalition states’ support of humanitarian operations in Yemen in light of violations committed by the Houthi militias.

He also briefed the UN official on the plans and projects of the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen, affirming its support in accordance with three references (Gulf Initiative and its executive mechanism, outputs of the national dialogue and Security Council Resolution 2216).

Griffiths highlighted his efforts with the Iran-backed Houthi militias to return to the negotiating table.

Earlier, Yemeni Vice President Ali Mohsin Saleh met with Griffiths. They discussed the latest developments in the Yemeni arena and efforts for peace there.