Stitching a ball is detail-oriented work: a football typically consists of 20 hexagonal and 12 pentagonal panels that must first be cut, then bound together with 18 metres of yarn and 650 precision stitches. Factories in Pakistan are responsible for about 70 percent of all hand-stitched sports balls, with China, India, Thailand and Vietnam also major players in the industry.
Twelve-hour shifts and six- and seven-day workweeks are common, and women and children are especially affected. Workers who stitch the balls together are typically paid per unit completed rather than per hour. Women, who represent a large share of the industry’s workforce, regularly face discrimination and harassment. Because of the low wages they receive, many workers keep their children out of school to stitch balls from an early age. To supplement meagre income, workers often moonlight as smallholder farmers.
Fairtrade certifies balls for football (soccer), handball, volleyball, and rugby. The Fairtrade Standard covers all hand-stitched, machine-stitched and thermo-bonded sports balls. The great majority of Fairtrade sports balls are hand-stitched, as this method offers the best balance between performance, durability and affordability.
BALLDESIGNER (Inh. Mark Zechiel) is FAIRTRADE certified: (FLO ID: 36355)
more details see: FAIRTRADE Austria