Founded in 2001, the Homeless World Cup is a pioneering social movement which uses football to touch the lives of 100,000 homeless people each year and make a significant change to the lives of many.
The organisation works with a network of over 70 National Partners to support football programmes and social enterprise development, and celebrates its year-round activity by organising an annual, world-class, international football tournament for national teams of homeless men and women.
The co-sponsorship announcement, which comes at the end of Fairtrade fortnight (29th Feb – 13th March), means that every game at the Homeless World Cup will be played using a Fairtrade ball.
Glasgow-based Bala Sport was founded as a community benefit society in 2014 with the aid of a grant from Glasgow City Council’s co-operative development fund. The organisation produces Fairtrade footballs, rugby balls and futsals, which are manufactured in Sialot, Pakistan,
“Using Fairtrade balls at the Homeless World Cup is a fantastic opportunity to highlight the issues around production of sports balls,” said Angus Coull, joint managing director at Bala Sport.
“Currently only a tiny fraction of the balls bought in the UK are Fairtrade certified. Both Bala Sport and Scotmid are passionate about levelling 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.”
Malcolm Brown, head of corporate communications at Scotmid added: “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 51 countries involved but it will provide a strong social and economic benefit to Scotland.”
The 2016 Homeless World Cup takes place on 10-16 July in George Square, Glasgow, which will be converted into an outdoor street football venue. Up to 100,000 spectators are expected to attend the free tournament, which this year will feature 64 teams, representing 51 countries.
“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,” added Mr Coull.