The ultra-conservative kingdom league will feature 16 teams from three regions and will kick off on November 22
The Saudi Arabian Football Federation announced this Saturday the launch of the first professional women’s football league, which will begin on November 22 with the participation of 16 teams, at a time when the ultra-conservative kingdom is trying to give an image of openness abroad.
The Federation said in a statement that the national competition will be held in two phases, involving 16 teams from three regions of the kingdom.
The matches will be played in three cities: the capital, Riyadh; Jeddah, on the shores of the Red Sea; and in the port town of Dammam, in eastern Saudi Arabia.
Each of these regions will have the participation of six teams, with the exception of Dammam, which will have four.
In addition, the top three teams in the table in Riyadh and Jeddah and the top two in Dammam will qualify for the final round of the championship, which will be held at the King Abdullah Stadium in Jeddah in early 2022.
In statements made in the statement, the president of the Federation’s board of directors, Hasan al Moshel, said that the launch of the first league was one of the objectives of the organization when, in 2017, he created a special team for women’s football.
For its part, Federation leadership member Lamia bin Bahyian called “indescribable” the announcement that “the dream of the Saudi women’s league comes true”.
In mid-September, Saudi Arabia opened training centers for Saudi girls and young women to promote the sport among women, and in particular to promote the first official league and the first women’s soccer team in the ultra-conservative kingdom.
Already in 2019, a team of young Saudis participated in a women’s soccer championship with other unofficial teams from the Arab neighbors of the Persian Gulf, and managed to finish third.
Until 2017, girls were not taught physical education in public schools in Saudi Arabia, and in 2018 the authorities allowed women to enter sports stadiums for the first time.
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Saudi Arabia Announces Launch of First Women’s Soccer League