Supporters | Women welcomed to Prince Abdullah al-Faisal

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Jedda, Saudi Arabia | Following evening prayers, Saudi Arabia and Sweden played a friendly match tonight with historic implications: for the first time, and after pressure from Swedish authorities, women were allowed to attend. The normally rigid gender separation in public was relaxed a bit for female Swedish supporters. “They will be allowed to watch the game but they will not be allowed to mingle with the Saudi crowd,” said Saudi league director Faisal Abd al-Hadi. According to the author of Web log “Saudi Jeans,” Swedish authorities had been told that anyone, including Saudi women, would be welcome at Prince Abdullah al-Faisal Stadium. “I really suspect this,” writes this blogger. “I’m afraid that Saudis told [the] Swedish embassy such [a] thing because they are sure no Saudi woman would dare to show up at the stadium.”

About the Author

John Turnbull founded The Global Game in 2003. He was lead editor for The Global Game: Writers on Soccer (University of Nebraska Press, 2008) and has also written on soccer for Afriche e Orienti (Bologna, Italy), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the New York Times Goal blog, Soccer and Society, So Foot (Paris) and When Saturday Comes. His essay "Alone in the Woods: The Literary Landscape of Soccer's 'Last Defender' " in World Literature Today was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Also for World Literature Today he edited a special section on women's soccer, "World Cup/World Lit 2011," before the Women's World Cup in Germany. The section appeared in the May-June issue. His next project is a book on soccer and faith.

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