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Missed the Goal for Workers: The Reality of Soccer Ball Stitchers in Pakistan, India, China and Thailand

An International Labor Rights Forum report, June 7, 2010

This report presents the key findings of the International Labor Rights Forum’s research in the four largest soccer balls producing countries: Pakistan, India, China and Thailand. This report also highlights the need to rethink the strategies being utilized by companies to encourage suppliers to adhere to strong labor standards.

The 2010 World Cup presents a golden business opportunity for soccer ball companies. During the 2006 World Cup, Adidas’revenue in the soccer category increased more than US $800 million. However, these business opportunities may come at the expense of workers in factories, stitching centers and homes globally to produce soccer balls. Over a decade ago, the world was shocked by reports that Pakistani children were stitching soccer balls for six cents an hour. In response to the media frenzy and public outrage, companies, governments, and other stakeholders committed to eliminating child labor in the industry by supporting the 1997 Atlanta Agreement which aimed to end child labor within the soccer ball industry.

Thirteen years later, with the 2010 World Cup hosted by South Africa just around the corner, it is time to ask what, if any, improvements have been made for workers that produce the most important symbol of the game: the soccer ball.

ILRF_soccerball_report.pdf730.5 KB

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