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

15 November, 2022
“I came to Qatar like thousands of workers. I borrowed money to come, but never expected to stay, stuck in poverty and hunger, sleeping on a wooden bed with a 5cm mattress, eating expired canned food. I came dreaming of giving my mother and my family a better life, but now I don’t have the freedom to return to my country when I want to see them. Can you imagine going back to work where your friend was killed the day before?” —worker Mohamed Khan (all photos courtesy Mohamed Badarne, “Forgotten Team”)


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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