JEDDAH – History will be made in Saudi Arabia on Saturday with the launch of the first official basketball tournament for women.

The women-only tournament will start next Saturday with six teams and only women in the stands, state media said on Wednesday.

Jeddah United, Dar Al Hekma University, University of Business and Technology, DFAC, Braves and Shoot for Cause will be fielding teams for the matches to be played in King Abdullah Sports City in the Red Sea resort of Jeddah.

“We are grateful for the approval of such special sports championships for women,” said Leena Al Maeena, a member of the Shura Council or Consultative Assembly of this Arab country.

“I hope that such tournaments continue and I am sure that this will be a success since the best female basketball clubs in Jeddah will be playing,” Leena said, quoted by Saudi news site Al Marsad.

Saudi Arabia to allow women into sports stadiums next year

The tournament will be sponsored by the General Sports Authority and the Ministry of Health. The entrance will only be for women.

Saudi authorities announced in October that women will be allowed to attend the main stadiums in Jeddah, Riyadh, and Dammam from January 1.

That decision was preceded by the decree announcing that from June on women will be able to drive cars in the kingdom.