Women ‘allowed to enter’ Saudi soccer stadium for match
The fans will accompany the Australian club for its final match against al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia on Nov. 1
Female supporters of Western Sydney Wanderers Football Club will be allowed to enter King Fahd International Football Stadium (KFFS) in Riyadh.
The fans will accompany the Australian club for its final match against al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia on Nov. 1 in the AFC Champions League.
Adnan al-Moaibid, spokesman of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF), however, said the entry of the Australian women fans is not their prerogative but rather a decision of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) that is organizing the final match. He said the SAFF is committed to honoring the rules and regulations of both FIFA and the AFC regarding all soccer matches held under their umbrellas.
He told Dammam-based Alsharq newspaper: “Any football match under FIFA or AFC is their concern. We in the SAFF have to implement any rules or bylaws put by them in this regard.”
The spokesman said if the rules of the two football federations allow women to attend soccer matches the SAFF has to make plans to accommodate them in the stadium.
The spokesman said this is not the first time women have been in Saudi stadiums. “Women fans attended soccer matches in the Kingdom before,” he said.
Khaled al-Aqeel, director of KFFS, said they were still waiting for instructions. He, however, recalled women fans of foreign football clubs attended matches in Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam before. The Australian club has asked the Saudi authorities to issue visit visas to a number of its female fans.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Oct, 14, 2014.