Let’s get physical and add some Fairtrade footy to your Fairtrade Fortnight break – urges Scottish sports balls cooperative.
Fairtrade sports ball co-operative Bala Sport is encouraging Fairtrade supporters to add a bit of a kickabout with a Fairtrade ball to the menu in this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight campaign (27th Feb – 12th March). The theme of the campaign is put some Fairtrade in your break. Bala want sports ball workers to be in the spotlight too, so they can also enjoy the benefits of the Fairtrade system.
“Whilst most of us know about Fairtrade food and drinks products, Fairtrade sports balls seem to be one of the country’s best kept secrets. It’s important to remember that there’s a physical fitness element to compliment the juice, fruit and other delights being showcased this Fortnight, and that there’s a Fairtrade alternative in football” said Angus Coull, Joint Managing Director at Bala Sport.
As a sweetener all the balls and other products in the Bala range will be on offer at 30% off during Fairtrade Fortnight. Just head to www.balasport.co.uk from Monday. To add a bi of fun to the campaign Fairtrade Football Mannequin Challenges are being encouraged, as well as footy tournaments and “keepy-uppy” competitions.
Bala is the only UK based maker of Fairtrade sports balls and currently offers a range of Fairtrade footballs and futsal balls, most of which are hand stitched, though some use the latest hybrid technology. The match and training level balls are made to the same standards as FIFA certified balls. They’re designed in Glasgow and the word Bala is Scottish Gaelic for ball. The co-op is currently developing volley balls, netballs and rugby balls and has worked with some top sporting bodies such as the Scottish Futsal League, The Street Football Association and the Scottish Volleyball Association to develop the right specification of balls.
Around 70% of the world’s hand stitched sports balls are made in one city in the Punjab area of Pakistan called Sialkot. There are only 7 factories in the world certified to make Fairtrade balls and they are all in this city.
“We buy millions of sports balls a year in the UK but only a tiny percentage of them are Fairtrade certified, which means that the men and women in developing countries who make them are missing out” said Coull.
“Workers in the Fairtrade system are guaranteed at least the minimum wage, safe working conditions and access to union representation and most importantly they benefit from the Fairtrade Premium.
“This is an extra 10% cash sum that workers decide democratically what to invest in through a joint body. We visit our workers to see for ourselves the effect of the Premium and Fairtrade standards and we’re impressed. We’ve even been invited to one worker’s home, and we’re going to call our net balls after some of the workers who make them” Coull said.
Sales of Fairtrade certified sports balls have helped build water purification plants (outside the factory gates so anyone in the community can benefit from free, safe drinking water, not just workers. Free eye and diabetes tests, fair-price shops, free transport to work and free school books and backpacks for workers’ children are among the other projects the Fairtrade Premium is used for.
“I got my eyes checked as they are not working well and my eye sight is getting weaker. I had headaches because of the eye sight problem. Now with the glasses my headaches and sight problems will be solved” said ball stitcher Habib.
“There are many benefits of Fairtrade, we have a fair price shop and a water purification plant here. I’ve been working here for 8 years and safety conditions are very good and proper” said quality control worker, Perveen.
Bala Sport was official match ball provider for the 2016 Homeless World Cup and is the official ball of the Scottish Futsal League.
For further information check out the Bala Sport FTF17 webpage or email: or call Angus on 07957 192222.