Bala Sport: Official Partner 2016 Homeless World Cup


The Homeless World Cup 2016 has been and gone and Mexico won both the Women’s Cup and the Men’s Cup, for the second year in a row.

Photo: Homeless World Cup 2016

Photo: Homeless World Cup 2016


Check out our post tournament blog to hear all about the exposure for Bala Fairtrade balls. Whilst your here watch some of Mexico’s winning action in the finals and hear what the players say about the Fairtrade Bala balls they played with.


It was an awesome event played with Fairtrade footballs thanks to a partnership between Bala Sport and our fellow co-operative, Scotmid. Together we were Official Match Ball sponsors, supporting this unique event held in Glasgow 10th – 16th July.

It was the first time a major international football tournament has been played with Fairtrade certified balls. It will continue to shine a global spotlight on the impact of the Fairtrade system for sports balls workers in Pakistan.

HWC Official Best Pic

Photo: Homeless World Cup 2016

Around 80,000 spectators attended the free event in the city’s George Square. The games in the Homeless World Cup are only 14 minutes long and the teams have just 4 players. There were more than 300 matches and each and every one of them was played fairly with the special Bala Astro Fairtrade match balls.

Check out our Homeless World Cup Blog.

Angus Coull, from Bala Sport said: “Using Fairtrade balls at the Homeless World Cup is a fantastic opportunity to highlight the issues around production of sports balls. Currently only a tiny fraction of the balls we buy in the UK are Fairtrade certified.

“Both Bala Sport and Scotmid are passionate about leveling the playing field and giving the workers who hand make our high quality footballs in Pakistan a fair deal. Not only do they receive fair pay and work in safe conditions, they also benefit from the extra Fairtrade Premium which they invest in the likes of free healthcare and water purification plants, the latter for the benefit of the whole community, not just workers.

“Fairtrade changes lives and we look forward to being part of this amazing and ground-breaking initiative that has also proven to change lives in a major way for homeless men and women around the world.”

Malcolm Brown, Head of Corporate Communications at Scotmid said: “At Scotmid we pride ourselves on our Fairtrade credentials and on making a positive contribution to the communities in which we operate. The ethical nature of this superb event is a perfect fit for our Society “Being able to support the event, particularly by providing footballs that are made ethically is great. It is clear that the event will not only benefit the teams from the 52 countries involved but it will provide a strong social and economic benefit to Scotland.”

Photo: Homeless World Cup 2016

Photo: Homeless World Cup 2016

About the Homeless  World Cup

The Homeless World Cup is a unique, pioneering social movement which uses football to inspire homeless people to change their own lives.

Organisers envision a world where anyone and everyone who is or becomes homeless can gain access to one of their National Partners’ transformative programmes. The mission is to inspire homeless people to change their lives through the power of football.

The Homeless World Cup operates through a network of 73 National Partners to support football programmes and social enterprise development.

It provides a focus for—and celebration of—their year-round activity by organising and delivering an annual, world-class, international football tournament for national teams of homeless men and women.

This year’s competition took place in George Square, Glasgow, Scotland from 10-16 July where 64 teams (48 men’s, 16 women’s) took part from across 52 different countries. The Homeless World Cup Foundation set out a mission to show that George Square would be, “the most inspiring place on the planet” during the tournament, and it definitely seemed to have been that.

About Scotmid Co-operative

Scotmid Co-operative is Scotland’s largest independent co-operative and has been at the heart of Scottish communities since 1859. Our businesses include Scotmid Co-operative, Lakes and Dales Co-operative, Semichem, Funeral Directors, Post Offices and our property division. We employ around 5,000 people in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the North of England across nearly 350 retail outlets. As a co-operative society, Scotmid is owned by its members, who each have an equal say in how we are run. We are true to our co-operative values and principles, and we are committed to supporting our local communities through investment in community and co-operative initiatives.

About the HWC 16 Ball: The Bala Astro

Playing soccer on any surface other than grass requires a special, durable ball and that’s what the Bala Astro is. We wanted to make sure that for the Homeless World Cup we produced a ball fitting for such an event so we asked David Duke of Street Soccer Scotland to help us develop the Astro ball.

“Playing on a variety of surfaces demands a versatile ball, one with a tougher surface that won’t tear apart on hard ground. The ball Bala Sport have produced is a high quality product that’s been tested by Street Soccer Scotland, and we think the ball is a credit to the tournament and that players from all countries will enjoy playing with a ball carrying the Fairtrade Mark.” David Duke, CEO Street Soccer Scotland.

Bala Sport Fairtrade Balls Homeless World Cup Glasgow 2016

The Bala Astro Spec

Developed for the Homeless World Cup 2016 this is a high quality all surface hand-stitched training ball and is made to the same standards as FIFA Inspected balls. It features a special 1.4mm PU for hard surfaces with a mat finish and a 4 layer latex impregnated lining and Atico Latex Seamless bladder. Like all Bala balls the Astro graphics were designed in Glasgow by Reflex Blue and made in the city of Sialkot in the Punjab, where around 70% of the world’s hand stitched balls are made.

Our workers enjoy safe working conditions, access to union representation and fair pay. They also benefit from the extra 10% cash Premium which they invest democratically in projects such as free eye tests and subsidised treatment, free school books and back-packs for their children, and water purification plants.