Despite criticism from officials, women's football is gaining ground in the Gulf, mainly in Bahrain, UAE and Kuwait. Image Credit: Supplied

Manama: Islamist Kuwaiti lawmakers have condemned the participation of their women's football team in the Asian championship as a "breakdown in social values" and demanded an investigation.

"The minister of labour and social affairs should take action against those who allowed the participation," MP Mohammad Al Hayef said.

"The matches are part of the chaos to dilute the values and identity of Kuwait," the MP said.

In its first participation in an international tournament, the Kuwaiti women's squad was routed 17-0 by a stronger Palestinian side. The Third West Asian Women Soccer Tournament in the United Arab Emirates started on Saturday and will last until Sunday.

The Kuwaiti team was assembled by Shaikha Naemah Ahmad Al Sabah, the chairwoman of Kuwaiti Women Soccer Committee.

However, MP Khalid Soltan said that the Kuwaiti participation reflected "a breakdown of social values" that could have been averted by those in charge of youth and sports.

"What do we gain from such participation? Has Kuwait stooped so low? Regretfully, we are simply imitating countries that boast of showing off," he said.

For Salafi MP Waleed Al Tabtabai, the participation in the championship was a violation of Islamic tenets.

"Football is not meant for women, anyway," he said.

However, Aseel Al Awadhi, one of the four women elected to the parliament in a historic breakthrough last year, said that women had the right to be engaged in competitive sports.

"Only the families of the girls have the right to define what is proper and appropriate. Nobody else has such a right, and that includes all MPs, so their custody is rejected," said Aseel. "In fact, if there is an investigation, it should be conducted into why women's sports have been neglected for so long in Kuwait," she said.

Women's football is gaining ground in the Gulf, mainly in Bahrain, UAE and Kuwait. Bahrain has a local championship, currently limited to four teams.