The Workers Cup
Adam Sobel, 90 min, Documentary, English, Nepali, Malayalam, Twi, Ga, Hindi and Arabic with English subtitles, United Kingdom, 2017
Followed by a discussion with the film critic Rami Abdel Razek
"The Workers Cup" is a close and personal look inside Qatar’s labour camps, where the World Cup is being built on the back of a million-plus migrant workers. The film follows a team of labourers living a real-life version of fantasy football. By day, they sweat to build the World Cup; while by night, they compete in a ‘workers welfare’ football tournament, playing in the same stadiums that will one day host the world’s greatest players. We join one team of men from Nepal, India, Ghana, and Kenya whose only common ground is love for football. Each match offers a momentary escape from the homesickness and isolation they struggle with as the lowest class in the world’s richest country. Even as pawns in the World Cup’s marketing game, they can’t help but lose themselves in the purity of football.
The movie premiered at Sundance Film Festival and was also screened at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, CPH-DOX (Copenhagen International Documentary Festival) and Sheffield International Documentary Festival. It has received the McKinnis Sports Documentary Award for Best Sports Documentary at Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival and was nominated for the Audience Award at Sydney Film Festival.