The Workers Cup
Location: Bartos Screening Room
Wtih director Adam Sobel and Qatari migrant labor expert Mariam Bhacker of the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre in person for post-film discussion
Dir. Adam Sobel. 2017, 92 mins. Digital projection. As the 2018 World Cup begins in Russia, construction is well underway for the 2022 edition in Qatar, where 1.6 million migrant workers labor and live in the shadows of the same buildings they have been imported to make. By day these men sweat in perilous conditions to build the venues for World Cup; by night they compete in a “workers welfare” soccer tournament, playing in the same stadiums that will one day host the world’s greatest players. The Workers Cup follows one team of men from Nepal, India, Ghana, and Kenya whose only common ground is their love for soccer and their desires to earn better lives. Each match offers them a momentary escape from the homesickness and isolation they endure as the lowest class in the world’s richest country. Adam Sobel’s penetrating and deeply humane documentary reveals an ad-hoc community of individuals pursuing universal dreams who are nevertheless systematically constrained, and celebrates a sport that unites the world yet subjugates the very people who struggle to make its greatest event possible.
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Mariam Bhacker joined the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre in 2016. She is responsible for developing the Resource Centre’s Qatar and UAE programmes, with a specific focus on the treatment of migrant workers in the construction and hospitality industries.