Football mad pupils at St Margaret of Scotland School kicked off Fairtrade Fortnight with Luton Euro MP Alex Mayer as they learnt about the not so beautiful side of the beautiful game and pledged to blow the final whistle on exploitation.
With the Hatters flying high in the league Luton Euro MP Alex Mayer presented a “Bala” football to the school at a special assembly tackling the topic of the hidden human price behind cheap footballs.
Like 70% of the world’s hand-stitched footballs, Bala balls are made in Sialkot in Pakistan. But Bala balls are different as they carry the UK’s most trusted ethical certification – the Fairtrade Mark.
The pupils learnt about the lives of the people who hand-stitch footballs. A top stitcher is able to produce 5 footballs a day, but not all workers and stitchers get a fair wage for the work that they do.
They watched a video about how footballs are made and discussed how fair play is important in both football matches and in trade before finding out about their ball’s journey from Pakistan to their school’s football pitch.
Bala Sport pays a 10% premium on manufacturing costs designed to give workers’ families access to healthcare and education.
Alex Mayer MEP who is a long-standing supporter of the Fairtrade movement said: “It’s not just bananas that have fairtrade stickers – footballs do too and I’m over the moon that St Margaret of Scotland have invited me to their special assembly. Kicking a football is even more enjoyable when you know it’s helping kick out exploitation too and helping workers earn a fair rate of pay, in safe working conditions.”