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The New Arab

Saudi Arabia bans pyjamas at sports stadiums

'Inappropriately dressed' sports fans will be refused entry to sports stadiums [AFP]

Date of publication: 13 October, 2017

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Planning on watching a football game in Saudi Arabia? Better leave the pyjamas at home then...

For a brief moment, Saudi Arabia recently relaxed its laws preventing women from attending stadiums for the country's national day.

The move was hailed as the possible beginning of a new era of inclusivity, but it seems that the country's eagle-eyed authorities have spotted another culprit to ban from enjoying live games: pyjama-wearing sports fans.

The ultra-conservative kingdom's sports authority announced on Tuesday that anyone "inappropriately dressed" will not be allowed to attend games, in an apparent clampdown on men who wear loose, short-sleeved robes to stadiums.

The garment, which differs in appearance from the smarter, long-sleeved robe worn in public, is usually worn at home and to sleep.

"This is in light of the fact that football matches and some sports games are broadcast live and are watched by people of different ages," a statement from the General Sports Authority read.

"This requires people to appear in clothing that suits the nature of Saudi society and is in line with public decorum, and keep away from anything that violates this, including the wearing of garments that are not appropriate to appear in public places," it added.

The announcement sparked waves of reactions from Saudis on social media, ranging from support for the ban to outright shock.

The ban also gave birth to the Arabic Twitter hashtag "banning nightwear in stadiums," which has produced around 60,000 related tweets.

"I hope this [ban] applies to all places and not this particular site," wrote one Twitter user.

"To sensible people reading this tweet," another user wrote, "it is called nightwear, so why do you wear it in public places... a very delightful and correct decision".

One critic of the ban raised questions about the implications of the ban for poorer sports fans.

"A strange and improvised decision," said one Twitter user. "Do you know that the price for the right robe is only 30 riyals ($8, £6)? They think the people are rich."

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