The “Forgotten Team” of Qatar’s World Cup by Mohamed Badarne

15 November, 2022


Mohamed Badarne


“For­got­ten Team” is a pho­tog­ra­phy exhi­bi­tion and a video by Mohamed Badarne in sol­i­dar­i­ty with all 2022 FIFA World Cup workers.

This visu­al sto­ry­telling project puts the spot­light on the lives of migrant work­ing peo­ple who have been lay­ing the ground­work for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. With­out them — the for­got­ten team — this mega sport event with all the new sta­di­ums, hotels, and trans­port net­works could not take place. Thou­sands of men and women from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Nige­ria, Pak­istan, and oth­er places set out to make a bet­ter liv­ing, but they have encoun­tered harsh work­ing con­di­tions and even death.

“While the world pre­pares to cel­e­brate the foot­ball world cup, the deaths of so many work­ers remain unac­count­ed for. The world must bring jus­tice to us before the dirty game begins!” says Nir­mala Tamang, who lost her hus­band in a con­struc­tion work accident.

Over a five-year peri­od, between 2017 and 2022, Mohamed Badarne vis­it­ed Qatar and Nepal sev­er­al times to meet with work­ers and their fam­i­lies, and to cap­ture their sto­ries and the injus­tice they suf­fered. It shows them in Qatar — at work and in their pri­vate spaces — and after their return home. It also por­trays fam­i­lies whose loved ones died there, as well as local ini­tia­tives that seek account­abil­i­ty and compensation.

Now is the time to hold Qatar and FIFA account­able for the vio­la­tions of the work­ers’ rights. But the 2022 FIFA World Cup is nei­ther the begin­ning, nor will it be the end of the ongo­ing exploita­tion of work­ing peo­ple in search for a life in dig­ni­ty for them­selves and their families.

Unless we change the game.

Salah Saouli, cura­tor, “For­got­ten Team”




See more images from the For­got­ten Team here.

Mohamed Badarne is a photographer, trainer, and activist. Born in the Palestinian village of Arraba in the Galilee, he got involved in social activism as a teenager. He volunteered in refugee camps and built a human rights movement for Palestinian youths. Until 2012, he earned his living as a high school teacher and NGO worker. Since then he has dedicated his career to photography and teaching photography. He leads workshops in cooperation with NGOs, community centers, and independent groups. For his own photographic work he received grants from renowned art foundations, and his projects “Come Back Safely” and “Unrecognized Games” were exhibited in such diverse venues as Darat al Funun Art Gallery in Amman, the Fusion Festival, the European Center for Constitutional Rights (ECCHR) in Berlin, the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva and the UN Headquarters in New York.His work is included in the collections of the Khalid Shuman Foundation as well as of the ILO and private art collectors. As a curator, he was responsible for “People of the Sea,” the opening exhibition of Qalandia International art festival in 2016. "Forgotten Team" was first exhibited at the Oyoun Cultural Center in Berlin in June 2022.

Dohaforeign labor QatarQatarworkers rightsWorld Cup


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