Although the Al Rihla World Cup Football Balls are listed on the Adidas website for $165, the workers who create them only receive about $0.75 for each football.
The Fifa World Cup’s official soccer ball was made in Sialkot, Pakistan, for the largest football tournament of the year. Do you realize that these football manufacturers only make a minimum pay of Rs. 160 PKR ($0.75)?
At least two-thirds of all footballs in the world are made at the 1,000 firms in Sialkot, including Adidas Al Rihla, which is Pakistan’s center for sporting products.
The 60 000 workers in these factories are not paid the minimum wage despite having such a significant impact on the sports world and literally being its core.
Long hours are put in by the artisans, who manually stitch each panel of the ball. Hand-stitching sports equipment, especially balls, is a custom in the city. This is because hand-stitching provides balls with more longevity and aerodynamic stability compared to machine sewing.
Thus, it can take up to 3 hours to complete each ball. According to Bloomberg, a laborer can only make about Rs 9600 per month when taking into account their typical compensation. Given that the average cost of living in the city is Rs 20,000, it is clear that this expense doesn’t even register.
The majority of the balls are sewn by women within the workforce. Additionally, despite being the family’s primary provider, these women go home to work and prepare meals for their loved ones. On the other hand, men work in numerous manufacturing phases and receive incredibly little pay.
Globally, over 40 million soccer balls are produced and shipped annually. The production and sales are much higher during the World Cup Football year. Therefore, despite such a remarkable yearly sale, the issue remains: Why are the workers in the factories in Sialkot so grossly underpaid, and will any steps be done to grant them the rights they deserve?