Social media erupted with hundreds of comments from Emiratis supporting or criticising as many 25 women who were scheduled to fly to Bahrain on Tuesday to see the UAE's Gulf Cup match with the host country.
Nasreen Ali Darwish, the president of the Women's Committee of the UAE Cycling Federation, approached the Football Association about Emirati women attending the game, and the FA reserved room for 25 among the six flights departing the country yesterday for the game at Manama on Tuesday night, as well as for 25 chaperones.
The Arabic-language discussion began trending almost immediately, with the hashtag that translates, from a two-word Arabic phrase, to "women supporters of the national team".
"If I had time I would take my kids and go, and if you don't like it, it's not my problem," tweeted the user @nailaalnuaimi.
"If the woman is escorted by her father or brother and will be seated in a family specified area, I see nothing wrong with that."
The user "It's personal, as long as there is decency. At the end these women are representing the UAE population."
However, the majority of Twitter users seemed opposed to the idea, which represented a first: UAE women travelling to a national football match outside the country. User "I'm not against equality, but this is something against our traditions and culture. Don't run blindly behind what you think is 'development'."
User "It is sad to see the UAEFA encourages women to unveil and discard their decency under the flag of supportiveness." User @wafa_als suggested it was silly for women to attend a match. "If she wants to support she can do it from home," she wrote.
@Bnshaheen1 tweeted that it was the fault of the parents and guardians for allowing their daughters, sisters or wives to go to such venues. Agreeing with him was @bomoath75, who feared women at a match would "lose the spirit of modesty and chastity".
The user "I know that we had women present at the stadium back in Gulf Cup 18, but they were in their own country. Who knows what can happen to them if they travel alone to another country?"
User @jumaira_ tweeted that this idea was "foreign and alien to what we are used to and will distort the image of our country".
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