By Sumayyah Meehan, MMNS Middle East Correspondent
There arenâ€™t many sporting events that claim the hearts and minds of the denizens of the Gulf region as much as the World Cup does. And this yearâ€™s South African hosted World Cup is no exception even though not a single Arab team made it through the qualifying round to play. World Cup fever moved swiftly into the Gulf region and has continued to hold a firm grip on the television screens of millions of soccer enthusiasts ever since.
Just like the â€œMonday Night Football Widowsâ€ in America who lose their husbandâ€™s undivided attention during the National Football League bouts, scores of women in the Middle East have had to pick up their soccer-loving husbandâ€™s slack around the house. While her husband cheers along with whatever teams are duking it out on the World Cup field, the wife has little recourse but to grin and bear it.
However, recent reports in local dailies around the Gulf region has shed some light on a series of woes attributed directly to the World Cup telecast. Several Middle Eastern newspapers have reported marital disputes arising between couples over the husband spending too much time in front of the tube and not enough time with his wife. One of the most recent and violent disputes occurred this past week in Kuwait.
A Kuwaiti wife reported to the local police station that she complained to her husband that he was spending too much time watching the World Cup matches and insisted that he give her more of his time. But instead of coming to a workable compromise or even negotiating with his wife to meet her needs, he chose to savagely beat her for interrupting him while he watched. She ended up with a broken nose and was rendered unconscious for several minutes as her husband fled the house. After regaining consciousness, the woman was able to call her brother and file charges against her husband who has yet to be found by authorities.
While the World Cup has caused marital discord in some homes around the Gulf, in others it has created a fun atmosphere of cheering the teams on. In Saudi Arabia, for example, several Muslim women have been spotted wearing specially designed abayas resplendent in favorite World Cup team colors and logo. Saudi designer Rania Khogaer has paved the way for the designer World Cup abayas, which have already proven to be top sellers. In a recent interview, Khogaer said, â€œIâ€™ve designed abayas for all of the teams that are participating in the World Cup. Although Saudi Arabia has not qualified, Iâ€™ve designed an abaya especially for them. Many of my customers have told me that they are going to wear Saudi abayas,â€ she added.