Women’s sports in Saudi Arabia will only be allowed if they follow Sharia law, according to Saudi Olympic Committee executive director Hussam Al-Qurashi.
Despite women’s rights to take part in sports, the committee will not go against the "decorum of Saudi society and the instructions of the Council of Senior Scholars", Al-Qurashi said.
“We support women’s sports as instructed by our Islamic teachings. We will not hold a sports event for women without proper licensing and without ensuring that the event conforms to the teachings of the Holy Qur’an,” he added.
Al-Qurashi said an Islamic committee has been set up to make sure the decisions of the Saudi Olympic Committee follows Islamic teachings.
“We will be monitoring all women’s sports events to ensure that they follow Islamic principles. We are looking into allowing sports events for women. We had women participate in the Olympics, but they adhered to Islamic regulations,” said Al-Qurashi.
However, he added that while women are allowed to participate in sports, they are ‘not yet allowed to compete in sports’, with no women’s sports clubs for competitive purposes established in the kingdom.
So far, the Saudi Olympic Committee has allowed four Saudi female athletes to participate in the Rio Olympics.
Because there are no women’s sports clubs for competitive purposes in Saudi, the women will be given wildcard entries to compete without meeting formal qualification standards.
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