Saudi Arabia, an oil-rich Gulf nation, which is currently on road to shake hands with modernization, and often hosts big events to showcase progress, has been slammed by the Deputy Prime Minister of Italy, Matteo Salvini.
Salvini slammed the nation by calling the decision to play the Italian Super match between Juventus and AC Milan in Saudi as “disgusting”, because of the restrictions placed on female fans. He condemned the fact that the sections of the King Abdullah Sports City stadium for the 16th January game have been reserved for men only.
Salvini went live on Facebook and said, “That the Italian Super Cup is played in an Islamic country where women can’t go to the stadium if they’re not accompanied by men is a sadness, a rubbish, I won’t watch the game”. He added, “Where are the Italian feminists and [Laura] Boldrini (former president of Italy’s lower chamber and women rights’ activist)? I don’t want a similar future for our daughters in Italy.”
The furious deputy prime minister while remarking on the issue though did not make any mention about Saudi’s failing to ensure basic human rights for all. However, his comments clearly showcased that he was disappointed with the fact that the kingdom still doesn’t preserve any space for equality and largely believes in male guardianship.
Head of Serie A, Gaetano Micciché, however, defended his decision to organize the tournament final in Saudi by stating, “Until last year, women (in Saudi Arabia) could not attend any sporting event.” He added, “We are working to ensure that in the next games that we play in the country, women can access all the stadium seats.”
The nation has reportedly seen protests asking for the abolishment of male guardianship, the result of which has been nothing, but arbitrary detentions without any charges. Therefore, even today every woman has a male guardian in Saudi Arabia, often a father or husband, sometimes a brother or son, who takes the decision on their behalf.
Before Salvini went live on Facebook, Laura Boldrini also posted on Twitter: “Women at #SuperCoppaItaliana go to the stadium only if accompanied by men. Are we joking? The lords of the #football even sell the rights of the matches but they shouldn’t be allowed to trade women’s rights!”
Saudi’s General Sports Authority has not yet said anything on Salvini’s act of condemning the kingdom and calling its system as “disgusting.”