Football fans taking their seats this Sunday for Italy’s Supercup will witness a historic change in Riyadh’s King Saud University Stadium: they might be sitting next to a woman. Last year’s game, held in Jeddah, was the first time women entered a football stadium in Saudi Arabia but they could only be seated in special sections and accompanied by a man. Now this barrier is gone.
“Football has an important role; it can break barriers and bring different cultures closer. We are extremely satisfied to see that women can now attend matches and sit where they wish. This is an important step in reaching an egalitarian status. It also bears witness to the fact that football can have a significant impact in shaping fundamental aspects of society,” explained Luigi De Siervo, the CEO of Serie A, before boarding his flight for Riyadh.
For some football fans in Italy, playing the Supercup match abroad is a break from tradition.
“Before we used to go to church on Sunday, which we would not all do, then lunch and after we would go to watch the game, it was an excuse to spend time together. It was a Sunday ritual and habit. All of this no longer exists,” said Amilcare Vannettelli Tosti sitting at his café in Rome.
This year the reigning Serie A champions Juventus will take on last season’s Coppa Italia winners Lazio.
Regardless of who will be the winner on Sunday, from a policy perspective, Vision 2030 will have scored a goal or, as Italians say “hanno fatto gol!”