Scotland Plays Fair images

Scotland Plays Fair

With the Euros going strong, it’s time to consider the real impact that the manufacturing of sports equipment has on people and the environment.

Whilst Europe has been tuned into the UEFA Euro Football Championships for the past few weeks, local Fair Trade groups are capturing the enthusiasm to talk to people about the working conditions for those who produce our footballs and other sport equipment.

For example, the Euros has inspired local groups in the East Ayrshire region of Scotland to take part in Fairtrade football sessions and tournaments. The sessions have been organised by the East Ayrshire Fair Trade Steering group as part of their ongoing efforts to reach out to the residents in the villages and towns of the region and gain support for their Fairtrade Zone campaign.

Walking Football Group Kilmarnock

As Charles Sim of the East Ayrshire Fair Trade Group has found, sport, particularly football, is a great way to start a conversation about Fair Trade within the local clubs and community, and encourage people to think about the power they have as consumers. The sessions have also given participants the opportunity to try out the high-quality Bala Sport footballs. Going forward, the project will work with Ayrshire College and Street League (a youth employability charity in the area) to set up more tournaments and talk about Fair Trade.

Did you know that around 70% of all hand-stitched footballs are made in Pakistan? To ensure good working conditions, fair pay and support to local communities, business and consumers alike have started demanding for footballs to be made according to Fairtrade standards. Bala Sport is a UK based co-operative aiming to increase the currently small market share of Fairtrade balls in the overall sport market. They started out by producing high-quality ethically made footballs, but are also launching several other types of ball later this year. Their latest release is the limited edition Euro 2016 football available on their website.

Whilst the Euros will sadly not be played with Fairtrade balls this year,  the Homeless World Cup held in Glasgow July 10-16 is leading by example by using Fairtrade footballs in their tournament. Hopefully others will follow their lead. Let’s enjoy the Summer of Fair Trade Sport!

Don't forget to check out this video about Fairtrade footballs by the Fairtrade Foundation .