Women’s Sport: Women’s football league to launch in Saudi Arabia

Women have only been able to watch football matches since January 2018

A women’s football league is set to be launched in Saudi Arabia, this comes two years after the Gulf Kingdom first let women attend football matches.

Riyad, the country’s capital, as well as two other cities, have been chosen to play host the new league. 

The action is known for its strict rules, but the competition’s creation comes in the light of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s reform for Saudi Arabia. Though this is a positive step moving forward for women there, more still needs to be done according to campaigners.

The reason for the creation of the league is to increase the participation of women in sport in the country, according to officials.

"The launch of the [league] bolsters women's participation in sports at the community level and will generate increased recognition for women's sports achievements," the government-run Saudi Sports for All Federation said.

The ban on women attending football matches was lifted in January 2018 - the same year that the nation ceased stopping females from driving.

Alongside this, last year saw women allowed to travel abroad without a male guardian’s consent, also restaurant segregation was banished. The Gulf Kingdom does not currently have a women’s national football team.

Last year, the country created the first women’s football team to take part in an international Global Goals World Cup. The aim of the tournament is to get teams from around the globe to play football for a good cause.

Saudi Arabia is hoping to stage the Global Goals World Cup in 2020. Despite the positive move, arrests have still been made for women’s rights protesters.

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