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10 Jul 2016
As Euro 2016 reaches its climax in Paris, teams from all over the world are gathering for the start of this year’s Homeless World Cup where matches will be played using Fairtrade footballs.
Fairtrade says fair play should be mirrored by fair pay for those who ensure the game can be played - the workers in Pakistan and elsewhere that make their living by making the balls on which the beautiful game relies.
Football freestyler and BBC presenter Frankie Vu features in a short video highlighting the work of Fairtrade sports balls manufacturer BALA Sport in making sure that fairness occurs both on and off the pitch. At their factory in Sialkot, Pakistan, where 70% of the world’s footballs are made, workers can be sure that they get decent wages, decent working conditions and there will be no child labour in the production of the BALA balls. The workers also receive the Fairtrade Premium that is a communal fund that the workers can decide to spend on environmental, social or economic projects. At Sialkot, workers have invested in buses to take workers to and from the factory and safer drinking water, and books and school bags for children.
"The partnership with the 2016 Homeless World Cup is a perfect fit for us,” says Angus Coull, Joint Managing Director at BALA Sport. “Fairtrade sports balls mean that the fairness and respect towards players and fans that is encouraged by football governing bodies is extended to the football makers. And that the values championed by Fairtrade – justice, equality and empathy – will be mirrored on the field.
"This wonderful tournament will make a real difference to the lives of the players and, for the first time, the football makers we work with. Watch it, engage with it – for some fair play, great action and great camaraderie."
The Sialkot region produces 40 million footballs a year and 60 million in a World Cup Year. 40,000 people work in the factories in the region and in 1997 an agreement was reached in Pakistan to end the practice of child labour in the production of footballs which came to light during the previous Euros in 1996. By going Fairtrade, Bala Sports is working to improve the wages and environment for the workers involved in Football production.