Meet the Glasgow based co-operative that make Fairtrade balls and are campaigning tirelessly to change the nature of the game.

Bala Sport is on a mission; to change the game in sport by ensuring that developing country sports ball workers get a fair deal through Fairtrade. The Glasgow based co-operative make Fairtrade footballs, futsal balls and rugby balls and are currently developing Fairtrade netballs and volleyballs.

Bala Sport footballs are high quality, made to the same standards as FIFA balls and are popular among schools and grassroots clubs. They’re either skilfully hand-stitched or machine-stitched by individual workers. Sadly you won’t see a Fairtrade ball in the World Cup, but you can see them in the Homeless World Cup (HWC) as official match ball of that tournament for the past 2 years. In fact Fairtrade history was made in 2016 as the Homeless World Cup was the first major international tournament to be played with Fairtrade balls. Held in Glasgow 80,000 spectators watched the free event. Bala was keen to provide the balls as the tournament is all about changing the lives of the players taking part and enabling them to have a better life, just as Fairtrade changes the lives of the workers who make the balls.

"The Homeless World Cup is a life changing event. Playing for nstreet football initiatives really helps to give women and men affected by homelessness and addiction and other derailing circumstances a sense of purpose and hope. When they get to represent their country at an international event, wearing their national shirt and signing their national anthem and the crowd are cheering them on and not walking past or over them on the street, it really is life changing." - Angus Coull of Bala Sport.

The company’s footballs are made in Pakistan and rugby balls in India. The Fairtrade Premium has so far gone towards free eye and diabetes tests for workers, free school books and backpacks for their kids and free safe drinking water for anyone in the local community, not just workers. Despite the popularity of Fairtrade food products awareness of Fairtrade sports balls is still low, so please spread the word that these balls exist, and that they’re good quality and can change the game – and the world.

Eman Sulaeman - Goalkeeper for Indonesia - HWC 2016

Eman Sulaeman - Goalkeeper for Indonesia HWC 2016 - Emnan was crowned the competitions best goalkeeper

Emnan has no feet and no prosthetics, only bandaged stumps. Despite this major disability he is a very strong and effective goal keeper – Emnan's success is sending a powerful message to his goverment that currently do not provide the necessary support to people living with disabilities and also the rest of the world where disabilities are still a myth to many.

We commend Bala for highlighting the importance of knowing and understanding your supply chain throughout as they do by paying the Fairtrade premium to ensure better living and working standards to those making their balls all the way to the projects like the HWC that they invest they support and fund. 

For more information visit their website below.


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