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| 16 November, 2017

Shopping frenzy as Saudi women get ready to attend sporting events

Saudi women shop at Al-Hayatt mall in Riyadh February 15, 2012. Single men are not allowed into the mall, which is accessible only to families and single women. Picture taken February 15, 2012.

Saudi women shop at Al-Hayatt mall in Riyadh February 15, 2012. Single men are not allowed into the mall, which is accessible only to families and single women. Picture taken February 15, 2012.

REUTERS/Fahad Shadeed

Modest clothing in various team colours being sold at shops

Manama - With less than two months remaining for the application of the decision to allow women to attend sporting events in Saudi Arabia’s three major stadiums, shops have spurned frenzy over the garments female fans will be wearing.

“There are abayas [the traditional black coverall] adorned with the names or the colours of the main clubs in the kingdom,” Mohammad Al Shahri, the head of the garments and ready-made clothes at the Jeddah Chamber, said.

“They will be of course modest, but they will have the team colours,” he said, quoted Saudi daily Al Watan.

He added that several types of abayas with printed expressions of patriotism were sold during the celebration of Saudi Arabia’s National Day and they were popular among shoppers.

“We also had abayas to mark social activities that had words of support and solidarity with cancer patients or diabetes. There was genuine keenness on being part of the social and health occasions,” he said.

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Ameera Al Muhajiri, the head of product development at the World Sports Centre, said that there was now a focus on sportswear that is feminine and, at the same time, embodies the spirit of supporting a specific club.

“There are hats with motivational expressions and long jackets that can be worn on gowns in the cold weather,” she said.

Last month, and in a major breakthrough, Saudi Arabia announced that women would be allowed to attend sporting events in stadiums starting January 1.

The stadiums were selected on the merit they could be made easily ready to accommodate women, Saudi officials said, pledging that women would be gradually allowed into the other stadiums across the kingdom.

The decision will allow women to watch the match-awaited classic match between powerhouses Al Hilal and Al Ettihad in Riyadh, Al Ahly and Al Baten in Jeddah and Al Ettifaq and Al Faysali in Dammam.

The decision was hailed as a highly significant event that will allow Saudi women to practice sports and a Shura (Consultative) Council member suggested that big clubs, such as Al Hilal and Al Nassr in Riyadh and Al Ettihad and Al Ahly in Jeddah, dedicate some days for women to exercise and practice freely.

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