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Last Updated: Monday, 29 November, 2004, 06:54 GMT
On the ball with Fairtrade call
Tam Cowan and Stuart Cosgrove
Tam Cowan and Stuart Cosgrove are supporting the campaign
BBC Scotland presenters Tam Cowan and Stuart Cosgrove are backing a campaign for all Scottish league teams to use Fairtrade footballs.

The popular pair, who present football show Off The Ball on Radio Scotland, said the move would mean better pay for workers in developing countries.

Green MSP Mark Ballard has called on the Scottish Football Association (SFA) to take action on the issue.

Fifa has its own campaign to tackle child labour in football manufacturing.

Mr Ballard wants cross-party support in Scotland to promote the use of footballs that have not been produced by workers with poor pay and conditions.

He said exploitative working conditions were still found within the industry.

Social responsibility

Fairtrade footballs are made in three factories based in Sialkot, Pakistan, which is at the centre of the export football trade.

Many sportswear companies have adopted Fairtrade codes of practice with their suppliers, but recent Oxfam research suggested this had led to limited improvements.

The Greens' campaign has been backed by Cowan, who also presents BBC Scotland's television programme Offside.

He said: "Fair play is of course vital to Scottish football - but not only on the pitch.

"We need to do what we can to ensure those involved in all aspects of the game are treated fairly, including workers in developing countries.

"Hopefully this campaign will see more and more clubs in Scotland using the Fairtrade training and match balls."

We are delighted that these balls were not produced using child labour or any other kind of exploitation and are proud to use them
John Clark
Whitehill Welfare manager

Mr Ballard added: "The Fairtrade Mark from the Fairtrade Foundation certifies the highest standards of production and guarantees buyers that workers are being treated fairly.

"The launch of Fairtrade footballs in the UK gives Scottish football an opportunity to take social responsibility one step further.

"I support the SFA's commitment to ethical standards and their insistence on good codes of conduct through the FIFA guidelines.

"However, I think there is much more that can be done, that is why I am seeking support from other MSPs and contacting clubs and supporter associations across the country so we can help combat exploitation in the international football industry."

Support match

John Clark, manager of East of Scotland League club Whitehill Welfare, is also backing the use of Fairtrade balls.

He said: "The scheme is a great idea and we fully support the initiative. We are delighted that these balls were not produced using child labour or any other kind of exploitation and are proud to use them."

Helen Blackburn, Whitehill's commercial manager, worked as a volunteer in Lusaka, Zambia, for over three years.

She was in Zambia in April 1993 when virtually the entire national team were killed in a plane crash while travelling to Gabon for a World Cup qualifying match.

She added: "The outpouring of grief throughout the entire nation was immense. People who experience so much poverty and hardship really knew how to celebrate when their football team won, but really suffered when they lost so many of their finest young men.

"Football is not called the beautiful game for nothing and it brings a lot of happiness to people all over the world - even more so with Fairtrade Footballs."

The Fairtrade balls were promoted during a match between Whitehill Welfare and Kelso United in the East of Scotland League Premier Division on Saturday.


SEE ALSO:
Football clubs urged to play fair
26 Apr 04 |  Scotland
Fair trade sales 'may hit 150m'
13 Mar 04 |  Business
Ethical shopping 'hits big brands'
08 Dec 03 |  Business


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