Hot Docs 2017: The Workers Cup

Migrant workers building the infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar participate in a soccer tournament in The Workers Cup. In 2022, the Middle Eastern country of Qatar will play host to the FIFA World Cup. To prepare for the event, workers are brought in from India, Nepal,
Bangladesh, the Philippines, Ghana, and Kenya to build infrastructure and stadiums. The organizing committee of the World Cup decides to host a “workers welfare” soccer tournament made up of these migrant workers.

Qatar is an incredibly small, yet wealthy, country that was named the unlikely host of the 2022 World Cup. 60% of Qatar’s population are now made up of migrant workers from impoverished countries, who work in poor conditions with little pay and no option to go home until the company releases them. However, the workers all share a love of soccer, so they jump at a chance to participate in the Workers Cup tournament, with the hope that it would get them noticed as players, so they can move on to a better life.

It is described at one point in The Workers Cup that these migrant workers are suffering from “mental slavery,” since their job prevents them from leaving Qatar until the end of their contract. It is interesting watching The Workers Cup in light of the 2015 FIFA corruption allegations, since these migrant workers get paid next to nothing, while Qatar likely paid a large bribe to win their World Cup bid. On top of all the social commentary, The Workers Cup is also a quite well done sports documentary, following the GCC team as they proceed through the tournament. Over all, The Workers Cup is a documentary worth watching.

8 / 10 stars


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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).