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What happened to the Qatar women’s national team?

Al-Kuwari said she was in the process of moving the women’s national team under the umbrella of the Qatar Football Association, where she is now employed, and that she had come to the federation with a list of demands for 2023: training camps, friendly matches, a new head coach, a goalkeeping coach, a training staff, dedicated facilities for the women’s team. The list continues.

What if they don’t get these things? “We expect the legacy of the World Cup to lift us up. This is our only hope,” Saleh said.

The interview ended after a question about the 2022 World Cup bid and whether the women thought their team was just a checkbox to ensure FIFA would approve the Qatar maps. The players did not respond, but al-Kuwari spoke. “No. No, no, no,” she said. Saleh translated for her again: The women’s team started in 2009, a year before the bid, she insisted, before Qatar don’t know that it would host the World Cup.

The fundamental history of the Qatar women’s national team is not singular. The players have gone eight years without support, funding or interest to match that of men’s football. What seems to have led to this difference – a combination of apathy and neglect – is similar to what women’s national teams face everywhere.

In the United States, the women’s world champion team sued the governing body of American football to assert their rights to equal treatment and equal pay with the men’s team of their country. Australia’s women’s team has boycotted games over a pay dispute, and Canada’s women’s team, the reigning Olympic gold medalists, are embroiled in a bitter contract dispute with their federation.

In Qatar, the demise of the women’s team was in many ways an old and familiar story: when it came to resource allocation, men’s football came first.

“There is no reason to sit here with a reporter and tell the same story every time without any benefit for us,” Saleh said. She added: “We are here to tell the world that we need more support, that we are ready to play and that we have a women’s national team in Qatar.”

nytimes Gt

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