JFF mindful of Saudi Sharia Laws
Jamaica senior men's football team physiotherapist Ashauna Davis will not make the trip to Saudi Arabia when the Reggae Boyz meet the Middle Eastern side in an international friendly match on October 7, simply because she is a woman.
Saudi Arabia, a country with strict Islamic customs, or Sharia Law, closely monitors female activities regarding sports and other aspects of their daily lives. One of these is that women are not allowed into football matches in the country.
Reggae Boyz team manager Roy Simpson said that Davis had no expectations of making the trip with the team.
"In our delegation, we will not be carrying our female physiotherapist. It was made clear to us that women do not attend games in the stadium, more so to sit on the bench, more so to be in the locker room," Simpson told Star Sports. "The mere fact that we were in discussion with the Saudi Arabians, we started to do our own research before they even told us that. So she was aware that in that culture, females literally take a backseat."
Saudi Sharia Law also prohibits persons from carrying out certain practices such as drinking alcohol or engaging in sexual activity with anyone other than married partners. Persons are not even allowed to have images considered "lewd" or "racy" on cell phones. This is monitored by "Religious Police Officers" who conduct random spot checks on the streets. Anyone found in breach of these laws will be arrested, tried and lashed, stoned or imprisoned if found guilty depending on the crime. In some cases, also depending on the crime, persons are even executed.
However, Simpson said that the Jamaica Football Federation had been in contact with the Foreign Affairs Ministry, who assisted in educating the players of the cultural differences between both nations.
"We have sent literature to them (the players) about the dos and don'ts in Saudi Arabia," he said. "As a matter of fact, they don't do Facebook Live, you don't take photos of even government buildings, you don't just take a photo of somebody. You don't stand in a public space and take photos just anywhere. It's ongoing education, and I even touched base with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who also sent me some amount of literature to share."
These practices are outlawed in Saudi Arabia because of the potential for persons to engage in espionage (spying). Saudi Arabia has a strict policy on this because of its politically sensitive relationship with its Middle Eastern neighbours.