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Women’s football tournament opened for first time in Saudi Arabia

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The tournament has been lauded as an important step for the Saudi sports world. — SPA

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s first Women’s Football League tournament was opened here on Tuesday, with 24 teams across Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam competing for a championship cup, and a $133,000 cash prize.

After Saudi women were allowed to watch football in a stadium,  they are now being  encouraged to    play the game in grounds.

Saudi Arabia opened its stadiums to women football supporters in January, 2018, but this is the first time they have been allowed to compete in a tournament.

Abdullah Alyami, Saudi football coach and sports reporter, termed the   competition a “positive step,” and said he expects many more women to participate in future tournaments.

“This is a very happy day for all athletes, be they male or female. And based on what we’ve seen, and how beloved the sport of football is all over the Kingdom, I believe we will see many more of our sisters getting involved in professional sports,” he said.

The tournament was due to start in March but it was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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