Female Saudi fan red-carded for entering men-only stadium

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) - A female fan who disguised herself to infiltrate the male-only domain of a football stadium in Saudi Arabia has been red-carded, a police statement obtained on Sunday says.

Men and women are strictly segregated in the kingdom, and football stadiums are out of bounds to women.

But one female supporter managed to sneak into a Friday fixture of the Abdul Latif Jameel Saudi professional league at Al-Jawhara stadium in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

She wore men's clothes "and deliberately covered her head so as not to be detected by security and not to draw attention," police spokesman Atti al-Qurashi said in the statement.

A video posted on YouTube purported to show her sitting by herself among some empty seats in a section reserved for fans of the visiting Al-Shabab club from the capital Riyadh.

A man nearby appears to be looking intently at the woman who sported glasses and black attire. She seemed to be wearing a large hat with a scarf in Al-Shabab's black and white colours for the match against Jeddah's Al-Ittihad.

Qurashi said the presence of the woman, who bought her ticket online, was "against the regulations".

He did not elaborate on whether she would face any charges but said her case "has been forwarded to the specialised authorities." He also "confirmed the need to comply with the instructions and regulations issued by the official authorities with regard to this matter." Saudi women, required to cover from head to toe when outside the home, still need permission from a male guardian to work and marry.

Restaurants are divided into "family sections" and separate areas for single men.

Saudi Arabia is also the world's only country which does not allow women to drive, and those who challenge the ban risk arrest.

The ultra-conservative Salafist tradition of Islam is predominant in the kingdom, where it applies to both religious and political life.

Al-Shabab won the match 1-0.

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