Slide Amnesty International UK / Media Awards AWARD CATEGORIES

Darfur United: A ‘forever’ project

Dom Smith – University of York


This is a long-form feature article I wrote as a freelance piece. It covers the story of Darfur United, a refugee national football team who compete in both men’s and women’s international football for the war-torn region of Darfur in Sudan. In researching and collating the article, I interviewed three key figures in the team – men’s team manager Mark Hodson, refugee player Moubark Abdallah, and the man whose organisation founded the team, Gabriel Stauring. Extensive words from all three feature in this story, headlined by Abdallah’s personal story as one of the refugees who represented his region as a United player. The Football Pink commissioned this piece as a one-off; I do not write for them regularly.


While this article did no affect human rights law, it did reach a large audience by being published on The Football Pink, a popular long-form football features website. I was also approached by TAKE ACTION (, which is a new start-up media outlet that documents stories relating to political and right-based change in world societies. They wanted to publish a version of the article for their own site. All three interviewees were positively shocked to be approached for comment on their involvement in the project (which is still largely uncovered by the mainstream media). In these ways, the article has shone a light on a genocide in an area of the world that is rarely discussed or considered newsworthy.