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Women's football gets a boost in Saudi

Biggest female match decided on penalties

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In a rare event, two Saudi colleges have held a football match between their female football teams, getting intensive coverage from the local media.

The match was held last Wednesday and the teams belonged to the Prince Muhammad bin Fahd University in the eastern Khobar province and Al-Yamama College in the capital Riyadh, according to Saudi daily Al-Watan.

The Khobar-based university’s stadium hosted the match, among huge female-only audience in the ultra-orthodox Kingdom that segregates between sexes in public.

The match ended in a 2-2 draw after full-time and the female referees resorted to the spot to decide the winner, without playing extra-time. The home team won 4-3 on penalties, according to Al-Watan.

The Saudi daily did not publish the names of the players, for fear of protests by the girls’ families. The newspaper also steered away from strict religious judgments, deeming women football inappropriate for Muslim girls.

The match is the biggest such event hosted by Prince Muhammad bin Fahd University and the first ever to see the home team playing against another team from Riyadh. The University has introduced women football some 18 months ago.