Saudi Arabia’s General Sport Authority has announced that come 2018, women will be allowed to enter the country’s three largest sports stadiums. The authorities have already directed the arenas to “get ready to accommodate families.” The move is part of a series of reforms implemented by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to introduce a more “moderate” Saudi Arabia.

Saudi women to be allowed into sports stadiums

Saudi women to be allowed into sports stadiums Photo credit: CNN/ Channel 2 News

Just one month after the Saudi authorities’ historic announcement that women would finally be permitted behind the wheel, Saudi Arabia’s General Sport Authority announced today (Monday) that it would allow women to enter the country’s three largest stadiums during sporting events and ceremonies.

“Starting the preparation of three stadiums in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam to be ready to accommodate families from early 2018,” the General Sports Authority said on Twitter, referring to the King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, the King Abdullah Sport City in Jeddah and the Prince Mohammed bin Fahd Stadium in Dammam. The three arenas are home to six major soccer teams and two of the three stadiums boast the highest seating capacity in the country. At this stage, it is still unclear if men and women will be required to sit separately.

The move to allow women to attend sporting events in the ultra-conservative kingdom appears to be part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “Vision 2030,” an economic and social reform plan that promises to bring about a “moderate” Saudi Arabia.

During a Future Investment Initiative summit in Riyadh last week, the Crown Prince discussed his vision for the future of his kingdom. “We are returning to what we were before- a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the world,” he said. Bin Salman added that Saudi Arabia planned to “eradicate promoters of extremist thoughts.”