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Saudi Arabia to launch first women’s football league

Kingdom launches women's league with 16 teams taking part. (Source: Kawa News)

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Saturday announced that it is set to launch the Women’s Football League on November 22, the first time in the country’s history.

Women’s sport was long frowned upon in conservative Saudi Arabia. However, the November 22 launch is part of a programme set up by the Saudi Arabia Football Federation in 2017 to support women’s football.

In a statement, the Saudi Football Association said the launch of the first edition of the Saudi Women’s Football League is “a step that comes within the framework of the women’s football support program since 2017.”

The body said the league “will be held on November 22 this year, in two phases, the first with the participation of 16 teams in 3 cities (Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam), and the final stage is scheduled to be held early next year in Jeddah at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium.”

Hailing the move, President of the Saudi Football Association Yasser Al-Mishal said the rules and regulations for the league have been completed. “Rules and regulations will be applied and adhered to because of their importance in the path of Saudi women’s football,” Al-Mishal said.

Since the launch of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 program, Saudi Arabia as witnessed rapid social, cultural, political and economic changes. As part of the so-called “reformist” vision, the government has repeatedly stressed that it is determined to provide women rights which they haven’t had in the past.