A while ago I signed up to the Facebook application Superbadger from Tearfund (post here) and promptly began to send badgering emails to various companies. Here is the first response and email from the FA to ask them to supply ethically made footballs. Good to see it’s on their agenda.
I write on behalf of The FA’s Director of Corporate Affairs, Simon Johnson. Thank you for contacting The Football Association regarding the use of Fairtrade footballs for FA competitions. The FA is committed to working with sponsors and companies that comply with ethical sourcing policies for our contracts. At the present moment we are discussing the possibility of applying the Fairtrade mark to FA balls with the Head of Division for our license holder, UMBRO. We shall be in touch again once we have further information.
Kind regards,Tracey Bates | Customer Relations Assistant
This is the email I sent:
“Dear Mr Johnson,
As Director of Corporate Affairs I understand you are responsible for ethics and sports equity for the Football Association. I am a football fan and a fan of human rights; the need for fair labour standards.
I welcome recent commitments the Football Association has made to support football teams in Lesotho, Malawi and Botswana, but am concerned that at the moment many footballs are stitched by workers who have often been underpaid and forced to work in very poor conditions.
I would like to see the concern of the FA demonstrated by a commitment to use Fairtrade footballs in all FA Youth Cup matches. These footballs come with a guarantee that they’ve been produced in fair conditions.
Many university teams are already kicking Fairtrade footballs around on their pitches, and Umbro have taken the initiative in Sweden by offering clubs Fairtrade footballs. If the FA took up this idea it would be a fantastic example to young people in the UK, it would benefit the lives of all those producing the footballs, and would satisfy all other concerned supporters like me.
I look forward to hearing from you