(MENAFN - The Peninsula) 'Are women allowed to play football?' reads the headline of an article by Julia Gerlach in the German newspaper Berliner Zeitung.
The answer comes in the introduction, where the Cairo-based journalist writes: 'The Qatari government says yes, because they take the path into a modern future. And promotes in that way the World Cup 2022 in their country.'
After describing a scene from the training session of the women's national team in Doha, the coach Monika Staab (pictured) is quoted as saying: "Isn't this great? Football is good for women, because it encourages them to find their place in society. Women are also good for the game, because they are better team players and give the game new dynamics."
Following a list of criticisms of the country including workers' rights and bribery allegations, the article points out that: 'At the moments the signs are good: especially because of the World Cup and specifically because Qatar is being criticised, there is a lot of good will from the side of the government, to place positive signs. In women's football and in general.'
The feature article traces the development of the Qatari women's national team and how a lot of school girls want to play and have talent, but some of them are not allowed to play because of their families. After a summary of Staab's career as a player and then coach and FIFA adviser, the German coach says: "The big difference between our start of women's football in Germany and the situation here is that here in Qatar we have the support of the government."
The author writes that: 'In Qatar people are proud to be more modern (than in neighbouring Saudi Arabia) with regards to women's rights and the role of the woman.'
"I have to say I feel bad when I read Western papers which say that women have no rights here," says Mead Al Emadi, 'We are a young country that is not stuck in the past.'
The article continues: 'She is fed up of the criticism of her country and the World Cup, but professional and reacts diplomatically: "We don't see things as a problem, because we find a solution for everything."
The author concludes with a quote from Nasser Al Khater, Executive Director of Communications and Marketing at the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy: "The World Cup is more than a mega event for Qatar. 'It is a catalyst for our development."