Saudi Woman Held for Watching Football Match
Saudi Arabia players celebrate after scoring a goal against Qatar during their Gulf Cup final soccer match in Riyadh November 26, 2014Reuters

A Saudi woman has been arrested for sneaking into a Jeddah stadium in the disguise of a man to watch a football match. Football stadiums in Saudi Arabia have strict male-only policy.

Saudi daily newspaper "Sabq" reported that to avoid being recognised, the woman bought her ticket online and dodged the stadium security by wearing "men's clothing" that included a baseball cap and a hoodie to cover her hair. 

A video posted on YouTube shows that the woman chose to sit alone in the stands, reportedly reserved for the visiting team Al-Shabab, in the Al-Jawahara stadium. 

Here is the video: 


But she ran out of luck when she was spotted by a security officer, leading to her arrest by the police.  

Those who watched the video urged the authorities to be lenient with the female football enthusiast as she did not harm anybody and was only sitting alone, enjoying the match. One of them described her as a "jewel in the stands."

But some YouTube viewers spoke against her, one viewer said "hope she is imprisoned for a long time."  

The woman probably did not see the match till the end, the Saudi newspaper quoted Aati Al Qarshi, spokesperson for the police in the Makkah Region, as saying.

The match saw Riyadh-based Al-Shabab beat Jeddah's Al-Etihad 1-0 .

However, Qarshi did not state whether charges were being framed against the woman but informed "Sabq" that details of this particular case had already been "forwarded to the appropriate authorities," The Independent reports.

The woman will be questioned by the police for not abiding by the rule – ban on women watching matches. Qarshi emphasized that people must remember "the need for compliance with the regulations and instructions issued by the authorities with regard to this matter."

The rules in Saudi Arabia are so strict that even foreign women needed to take prior permission to watch the matches in which their home teams are playing, Gulf News reports.

This news comes on the heels of a high-profile, Riyadh-based campaign to urge the Saudi Kingdom to lift the ban on female driving.

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