I don’t think I’ve ever written anything about football before. But you can’t live in North East England and not have at least a passing interest in ‘The Beautiful Game’. The rivalry is legendary between the fans of Newcastle and Sunderland, our local North East teams. Though, tonight, all eyes are on Wales and we are willing them to come through against Portugal in the Euro 2016 semi-final.
There is one key piece of equipment for playing football, whether in an international stadium like the Stade des Lumières, where tonight’s game takes place, or in your local park, school playground or on the beach. A football.
Today, I learned from the Fairtrade Foundation that you can now buy Fairtrade footballs – they’re emblazoned with the familiar Fairtrade logo that you see on Fairtrade coffee, tea, sugar or bananas. Bala Sport’s Fairtrade footballs are designed in Glasgow by Reflex Blue and hand-stitched in Fairtrade-certified factories in Sialkot in Pakistan. This is where 70% of the world’s hand-stitched footballs are made – 40 million of them every year.
Unfortunately, not all of these 40 million footballs are made under Fairtrade conditions. Many people who work in the football manufacturing supply chain are paid poorly and have very poor working environments. Bala Sport’s Fairtrade footballs are leading the way to change this. Fairtrade football makers receive fair wages and have safe working conditions. The Fairtrade Premium that is also paid, means projects such as extra health care or free transport can be provided, or even clean water for the workers and their community.
The Fairtrade Premium is a 10% extra sum of money that the factory or stitching centre can choose how to spend. But if more Fairtrade footballs were sold, this 10% extra would be an even greater sum and could do so much more for the football makers, their families and their communities.
Just imagine, if more schools, sports clubs or even families bought Fairtrade footballs. ‘The Beautiful Game’ could become even more beautiful 🙂
This Sunday, 10th July, you can see Fairtrade footballs in action in another positively life-changing project in Glasgow – The 2016 Homeless World Cup.
So, the next time you need a football, why not make it a Fairtrade Football?
J Peggy Taylor