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Cards of Qatar: The football cards of the dead

Four months before the FIFA World Cup begins, Blankspot presents a new series of football cards, that instead of facts about players tell the stories of migrant workers in Qatar who never returned.


“These workers are not just statistics. Their stories need to be heard. At first glance, everything from the portraits, the glossy surface, and the packaging creates the impression of authentic football cards. But at a closer look, the portraits and stories belong to migrant workers in Qatar, each with an unfiltered story,” says Martin Schibbye, chief editor and co-founder of Blankspot, an investigative journalism platform that created the project.  

Ever since Qatar was awarded the FIFA World Cup a lot has been written about the varying numbers of deaths that have been reported. NGO:s claim thousands of migrant workers have suffered or died during their time in Qatar, a country heavily criticized for inhumane working conditions for migrant workers. The authorities in Qatar claim the numbers are lower.

“What we wanted to do was to tell the stories of those who died. Together with a team of local journalists in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh we started collecting stories of migrant workers directly from the families and widows they left behind. I think it’s our responsibility to get to know these people and their stories,” says Martin Schibbye.

The cards will be followed by long-form articles and interviews with players, politicians and workers’ organizations.

The ambition with Cards of Qatar is to collect as many stories as possible of the people who worked at the hotels, the subways, and the roads that fans from all over the world will be traveling on during the World Cup 2022.

On a dedicated website and @CardsOfQatar on Instagram and Twitter, people can read and share all the stories, which will be continuously updated with more stories of deceased migrant workers up until the World Cup.

The 33 football cards launched today is just the initial batch. The goal is to publish one card each day up until the Fifa World Cup 2022 starts. Blankspot would like to welcome more media partners from around the world. In Germany we collaborate with 11 Freunde and in Sweden with SvenskaFans.

Media partners

We welcome media partners from around the world. The mediapartners so far are 11 Freunde in Germany and SvenskaFans in Sweden.


Cards of Qatar is a collaborative project between the journalistic platform Blankspot, the app Forza Football and creative agency Forsman & Bodenfors.

When Blankspot presented the idea of ​​the football cards for Forza Football two years ago, we shared the image of how journalism together with football cards would be an effective way to visualize the working conditions for migrant workers and also become powerful tools in the hands of football fans.

“Cards of Qatar is a way to both spread the stories to a large audience while putting more pressure on FIFA and other organizations that organize sporting events. This is 2022. Major championships should not be organized by countries that do not respect fundamental human rights “, says Patrik Arnesson, founder of Forza Football.

Forsman & Bodenfors has been a creative partner and has contributed with concept development, film and a design that presents these people with the dignity they deserve.

“It has been an honor for all of us to have been part of this project with Blankspot and Forza
Football. Hopefully, as many people as possible will read these stories,” says Staffan Lamm
and Hampus Elfström, creatives at Forsman & Bodenfors.


Contact details:

Pressrelations: Brit Stakston: brit@blankspot.se, +46733833366

Editor in Chief: Martin Schibbye, martin@blankspot.se, +46706710468

Watch our shortfilm for Cards of Qatar.

Read more on a dedicated website Cards of Qatar and in social media @CardsOfQatar on Instagram and Twitter.

Martin Schibbye, is a journalist from Sweden. He has been reporting extensively from South and Southeast Asia.  After spending 14 months in jail in Ethiopia for investigating human rights abuses in 2012, he co-founded Blankspot with media strategist Brit Stakston – a crowdfunded digital only platform for long form journalism.

His goal is to tell the untold stories: putting the overlooked corners of the world under the looking glass.

Author of 438-days and The search for Dawit, Martin has received the Anna Politkovskaya Memorial Award, and Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Prize.