Due to the nation’s reforms, there were just as many women in green shirts at Education City supporting Poland.
Qatar has been disturbed by Saudi Arabia. Only Argentina comes close to matching the amount of international travel by fans. The emerald green garment can be seen all across Doha. They have created a threatening environment inside the stadium in their first two Group C games. They are on the corniche and in the metro.
The Saudi fan base in Qatar includes both men and women, which may seem like an observation that shouldn’t need to be made. Around one in twenty of those entering the stadium at Education City on Saturday afternoon were women, which is roughly equal to the proportion of women who were there to support Poland. One of a kind.
As part of a series of reforms three years ago, the Saudi royal family issued a decree allowing women to leave the nation without first obtaining the agreement of their male guardian. Every woman is subject to the guardianship system throughout her lifetime, with the guardian role shifting from her father to her spouse. However, it no longer holds in as many ways as it previously did. As a result, everyone can now attend this nearby World Cup in a nation that is passionate about football.
It was difficult to engage female supporters before the game. Requests for conversations were gently declined, and business cards offering the chance to speak later—just about football—were given back. One woman who sported a niqab consented to speak. It was Aliya’s first time watching her country’s team, and she was upbeat, saying, “Inshallah we will win.” “I am looking forward to the cheering and the people in there, the whole experience,” she said, sounding excited to be a part of it. Her spouse took charge. He declared, “This is the World Cup; this is what it means. “Saudi will go to the next level, and a female league and teams will be available. Everything is supported by our new president, and women come first.
Yasser al-Mishal, a former head of the Saudi men’s professional league and a member of Fifa’s disciplinary committee, is the president of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation. He indeed oversaw the country’s women’s game undergoing significant alteration. The Saudi Women’s Premier League, the country’s first league exclusively for women’s club teams, was formed two years ago. Then, in the spring of this year, a potentially more significant event took place: the Saudi Arabia women’s team defeated the Seychelles 2-0 in a friendly match in Mauritius, marking the first step on a suggested pathway into the organization’s official Fifa classification.
The development of the women’s game comes ten years after Saudi officials pushed Fifa to outlaw the hijab in football, which would have prevented women from participating in the sport at all. In three places at the beginning of 2018, the restriction on women entering stadiums as spectators that had been in place for five years had finally been lifted. It may not be a coincidence that these modifications have been made at a time when Saudi Arabia is attempting to assert a stronger presence in the sporting world and considering a bid for the 2030 World Cup. They are real, though.
Mariam Meshikhes and her companion passed by shortly after I finished speaking with Aliya. Mariam, who hails from the east of Saudi Arabia, attended her first game while donning a replica of the Saudi national team’s away jersey and a pale green headscarf. It was reasonable to say that she had no reluctance in discussing the event.
It has been my ambition since I was a teenager to watch the Saudi national team play in the World Cup and to attend a game in a stadium, she said. “I have followed every game. I remember watching them all as a teenager and just wished I was there. I can’t believe this day has finally come.
At this point, Mariam’s engineer friend noticed that the doctor had left her twins with her husband at home. She remarked, “They’re OK, they’re OK.” They are aware of my joy.
Mariam was asked what she believed female football fans would add to an exclusively male crowd. She grinned, “Well, courtesy. “Females are required everywhere; after all, we make up 50% or more of our nation. She is an engineer, and I am a physician, so we are already contributing to our nation. Incredibly, we can now take part in supporting our nation during the World Cup. And to go when they are winning, inshallah, and hopefully, they win, was just… you have no idea… this is the best day of my life. They have a great chance to be the first qualifier for the 16th round.
Mariam was asked what she believed female football fans would add to an exclusively male crowd. She grinned, “Well, courtesy. “Females are required everywhere; after all, we make up 50% or more of our nation. She is an engineer, and I am a physician, so we are already contributing to our nation. Incredibly, we can now take part in supporting our nation during the World Cup. And to go when they are winning, inshallah, and hopefully, they win, was just… you have no idea… this is the best day of my life. They have a tremendous chance to be the first qualifier for the 16th round.
Of course, fantasies don’t always come true in sports, and Poland defeated their opponent by a score of 2-0. Now that the Saudis must win their final match against Mexico to advance, Hervé Renard, their coach, is sure to provide a motivational message. But the Saudi fans were the real heroes of the Poland game, and they’ll be there in full form on Wednesday at the 88,966-seat Lusail Stadium. There has been much discussion about how nations utilize sports to enhance their image, but there are probably few better advocates for Saudi Arabia right now than their fans.
We need your help with a simple favor. Every day, millions of people look to the Guardian for unbiased, high-quality news, and we now receive financial support from readers in 180 different nations.
We think everyone should have access to information that is based on facts and science, as well as analysis that is grounded in authority and integrity. Because of this, we took a different tack and decided to keep our reporting accessible to all readers, regardless of their location or financial situation. More people will be better informed, united, and motivated to take significant action as a result.
A worldwide news organization that seeks the truth, like the Guardian, is crucial in these dangerous times. We are unique in that our journalism is free from commercial and political influence because we don’t have shareholders or billionaire owners. Our independence gives us the freedom to tenaciously look into, confront, and expose those in authority at a time when it has never been more crucial.