Stadium in Dammam opens doors to Saudi women for first time

Female Saudi fans arrive for a match in this file photo. (AFP)
Updated 03 February 2018
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Stadium in Dammam opens doors to Saudi women for first time

DAMMAM: A football stadium in Dammam, Saudi Arabia will be opening its doors to women for the first time Saturday.
Al-Ittifaq will be playing Al-Fateh at the Prince Mohammad bin Fahd Stadium at 6:05 p.m. Saudi time. It is the third match women have been able to attend after the lifting of a ban which previously prevented them from entering football stadiums.
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.
To prepare for the change, the Kingdom has designated "family sections" in the stands for women, separated by barriers from the male-only crowd. The stadiums have also been fitted with female prayer areas, restrooms and smoking areas, as well as separate entrances and parking lots for female spectators.
The first match that women attended was the Al-Ahli versus Al-Batin game on Friday Jan. 12 in Jeddah and the second was the Al-Hilal versus Al-Ittihad match that took place on Saturday Jan. 13 in Riyadh.


‘I’ve been waiting to get to Saudi Arabia for years’: Akon tells Asharqiah crowd

Updated 23 March 2019
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‘I’ve been waiting to get to Saudi Arabia for years’: Akon tells Asharqiah crowd

  • “First thing tomorrow morning, I’m headed to Makkah to perform Umrah” Akon said 
  • He entertained the crowd with some of his most popular hits at the Asharqiah Music Festival

DAMMAM: American rapper Akon captivated a packed crowd at the Asharqiah Music Festival on Friday, opening up the second night of musical festivities at Sharqiah Season with a special shout-out to Saudi Arabia.

“You have no idea, I’ve been waiting to get to Saudi for years, man,” Akon said, before launching into his song, “Gunshot.” Later, he told the crowd: “I’m seeing a tremendous change in Saudi Arabia here tonight."

At 8 p.m., under a bright moon on a beautifully cool night, Akon began his set, delighting fans who had spent over 10 minutes chanting his name in anticipation of his arrival.

He entertained the crowd with some of his most popular hits, including “Smack That,” “Mr. Lonely” and “Sorry: Blame It On Me.” And he wrapped things up with “I love you, Saudi... thank you for making me feel at home."

Backstage before the concert, Akon told Arab News how excited he was to be in Saudi Arabia for the first time. He was especially excited to visit one Saudi city in particular.

“First thing tomorrow morning, I’m headed to Makkah to perform Umrah.”