Saudi Arabian authorities have been forced to apologise after images of female wrestlers were shown at a WWE event held in the country on Friday.

The event, named 'Greatest Royal Rumble' hosted in Jeddah, was marred by controversy as female performers were not allowed to compete on the show due to the strict laws imposed upon women in the country.

WWE faced heavy criticism for hosting the event from female and LGBT+ fans and wrestling journalists, many of whom had branded the event a propaganda stunt for the Saudi government.

In the past few years, WWE has heavily promoted women's wrestling on their shows and wrestlers like Finn Balor have shown their support for LGBT+ equality.

During the event, a promotional video for WWE featuring wrestlers singing was shown in the stadium, featuring some of their female stars in their ring attire - including Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss, Carmella, Naomi and Nia Jax.

The show was broadcast on the WWE Network, the organisation's streaming service, but viewers reported that the stream was cut off while the images played.

In response, the Saudi General Sports Authority released a statement on Saturday apologising for the incident.

In a translation obtained from Redditthe statement reportedly says:

The General Sports Authority would like to apologise to the viewers and attendees of last night’s WWE event that took place in Jeddah, over the indecent scene involving women that appeared as an ad before a segment.

It would like to confirm it’s total disapproval of this, in the shadow of its commitment to eliminate anything that goes against the communities values.

The authority has made sure to ban showing of any segment that involves women wrestling or any scenes related to it and stipulated that to the company (WWE).

The authority also disapproved any promotional stuff with pictures or videos showing women in an indecent way and emphasised on a commitment of this rule.

And it’s a commitment that the authority would still commit to forever in all of its events and programmes.

The government-sanctioned show was the first televised wrestling event in the conservative nation's history where women and children were allowed to be seated at ringside, as long as they were accompanied by parents.

The controversial nation is attempting to change its image mostly thanks to the efforts of their young prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, who has lifted bans on allowing women to drive and join the military.

Cinemas have also been opened in the country for the first time in 35 years.

'Greatest Royal Rumble' was the first event of a 10-year-partnership between the WWE and the Saudi General Sports Authority.

HT Daily Mail

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