Workers Cup Film
Inside the labor camps of Qatar, African and Asian migrant workers building the facilities of the 2022 World Cup compete in a football tournament of their own: The Workers Cup.
In 2022, Qatar will host the biggest sporting event in the world, the FIFA World Cup. But right now, far away from the bright lights, star athletes and adoring fans, the tournament is being built on the backs of 1.6 million
migrant workers. The Workers Cup is a feature-length documentary giving voice to the men who are laboring to build sport’s grandest stage.
Sixty percent of Qatar’s total population are laborers. From India, Nepal, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and, increasingly from Africa, some of the world’s poorest people are working the lowest level jobs to ensure the World
Cup can be hosted in the world’s richest country. These men work exceedingly long hours for scant salaries, and they live isolated in labor camps which are by law kept outside city limits.
With unprecedented access, their film unfolds largely inside a Qatari labor camp that the migrant workers they meet say feels like a prison. Hidden between a highway and remote stretch of desert, the Umm Salal Camp is
intentionally out of sight and out of mind. So are the 4000 men who live
They focus on a select group in the camp who have been chosen to compete in a football tournament for laborers: The Workers Cup. The tournament is being sponsored by the same committee organizing the 2022 World Cup and 24 construction companies have been invited to field a team of workers. Over the course of the tournament they follow the men as they alternate between two startling extremes: they play heroes on the football pitch, but are the lowest members of society off of it.
The film is a portrait of a handful of players on the team. It explores universal themes of ambition, aspiration and masculinity, as they see their protagonists wrangle hope, meaning, and opportunity out of dismal circumstances. The mundane is fraught with turmoil, whether it is changing jobs, talking with family back home, or going on a date. This results in a terrible toll to the psyche of their protagonists, as they are depleted of the hope that motivated
them to come to Qatar in the first place.
Ultimately, their own complicated relationship with sport is revealed, as they see its power to unite and divide society by turns.
Behind the Scenes:
They are a team of award-winning film makers from around the world but with a sharp focus on telling the stories of the Middle East and North Africa to the world.
They were all residents of Qatar - part of the ninety per cent who live there who were not citizens of the country. They were engaged in making films and also news and current affairs there and in the region. The story of the workers was all around but so hard to access except in the most superficial way.
This tournament for the workers was a unique opportunity to spend some real time with these men. They picked a team and followed their tales of hope, failed ambition and loneliness across years. Their stories speak for so many other migrant workers around the world, not just in Qatar.
They were helped by SO many along the way so this handful of names by no means reflects the people that made this film possible.
Director / Adam Sobel
Producer / Ramzy Haddad
Producer / Rosie Garthwaite
Editors / Lauren Wellbrock, Anne Jünemann, Adam SobelSee more