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FILE PHOTO - Saudi women arrive to attend Janadriyah Culture Festival on the outskirts of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 8, 2016. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia will for the first time allow women to attend sports events in three selected stadiums from early next year, the General Sports Authority said in a statement.

The stadiums in Jeddah, Dammam and Riyadh are being prepared to accommodate families in early 2018, said the statement, carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency late on Sunday.

Last month Saudi Arabia announced that, from June, women would be allowed to drive cars, ending the world's only ban on female driving.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's Vision 2030 reform programme aims to open up Saudis’ cloistered lifestyles, shaped in part by a strict, conservative version of Sunni Islam that limits the role of women, and diversify the economy away from oil.

(Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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