Women throng King Abdullah Sports City stadium amid entry restrictions in Saudi's Jeddah; Italy football league president hails turnout

  • Chaperoned by men, thousands of women thronged a Saudi stadium for the Italian Supercup final between Juventus and AC Milan, brushing off a controversy over entry restrictions.

  • Female football fans entered the King Abdullah Sports City through designated turnstiles for

  • Italian football league president Gaetano Micciche hailed the turnout of 15,000 women among the 62,000 crowd, a success.

  • Saudi Arabia last year eased decades-old rules separating the sexes to allow women to enter sports stadiums for the first time with their families.

  • Serie A president Gaetano Micciche said this would go down in history as the first international competition that Saudi women were allowed to watch in a stadium.

Jeddah: Chaperoned by men, thousands of women thronged a Saudi stadium on Wednesday for the Italian Supercup final between Juventus and AC Milan, brushing off a controversy over entry restrictions.

 Women throng King Abdullah Sports City stadium amid entry restrictions in Saudis Jeddah; Italy football league president hails turnout

File image of women football fans inside Jeddah's King Abdullah Sports City stadium. AP

With painted faces and banners, female football fans entered the King Abdullah Sports City stadium in western Jeddah city through designated turnstiles for "families", with solo women barred from purchasing tickets.

The restriction had sparked a furious reaction in Italy, with deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini calling it "disgusting".

But with reports saying that there were up to 15,000 women among the 62,000 crowd, accompanied by men or male children, Italian football league president Gaetano Micciche hailed the turnout a success.

Serie A president Gaetano Micciche said the presence of women in the stadium would go down in history as the first international competition that Saudi women were allowed to watch in a stadium.

Long condemned for harsh restrictions on women, Saudi Arabia last year eased decades-old rules separating the sexes to allow women to enter sports stadiums for the first time with their families. The decision was part of wide-ranging reforms spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that is aimed at modernising the conservative petro-state.

The reforms include overturning the world's only ban on women drivers last June.

Updated Date: Jan 17, 2019 10:45:52 IST