In a first, women in Saudi Arabia attend a soccer match

Saudi women finally allowed into stadiums to cheer sport teams

Saudi women attend sports event for first time

For the first time in history, women in Saudi Arabia have been allowed to attend a football match in Jeddah.

The first stadium to open its doors to women was in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

And in June, as part of a reforms drive led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, authorities are lifting a ban that prohibited Saudi women from driving.

This is more than women's rights: today's match between Al-Ahli and Al-Batin, and the ones to follow, are opportunities for families to come together and enjoy KSA's national sport - soccer! This was the first time that women have been permitted to share a stadium with male spectators.

Ahead of the game, clubs took to Twitter to encourage women in attending the local match offering them traditional robes in team colours.

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But even segregated as they were, their presence in the stadium marked a significant moment for the Kingdom.

Social media was also abuzz.

Ruwayda Ali Qassem, another Jeddah resident, called Friday a "historic day in the kingdom which culminates (in) ongoing fundamental changes".

"A lot of people wanted to wait and see how it is. Some thought it wouldn't be very safe or organised", said Swick, who attended the game with her Saudi husband and son, and her American mother. "I feel very proud because I am witness to this change".

Among the first were a woman accompanied by a younger female and a girl.

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While many supported and welcomed the decision to allow women into stadiums, others spoke out against it. All three stadiums were previously male-only, CNN reported.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 32, has been hailed as the face of these changes.

There are still many things women are unable to do without permission, such as applying for passports, travelling overseas, opening a bank account and starting certain businesses.

Set to inherit a country where more than half the population is under 25 years old and hungry for change, the young crown prince has looked to boost his popularity by curbing almost four decades of deeply entrenched ultraconservative influence.

Although the authorities made rare exceptions to let foreign women watch football games, no such exceptions had been made for Saudi citizens.

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