Pakistani Women Sew a World Cup Ball for Less Than a Dollar Apiece!

This is how FIFA exploits women in poor countries.


Bloomberg revealed that the World Cup balls are handmade in the Pakistani city of Sialkot, and women sew most of the balls.

“More than two-thirds of the world’s football balls are made in one of a thousand factories in the city,” the report said.

The report also pointed out that this “includes the official Adidas ball for the 2022 World Cup matches, Al Rihla.”

“More than 80% of these balls are produced by hand sewing. It’s a tedious process that makes the ball more durable than sewing with machines.”

“Most of those who sew balls are women,” the report mentions.

“Every woman sews two balls a day. Men work at different stages of the manufacturing process, preparing materials or testing quality.”

While it takes 3 hours to make each ball, according to the report, sewing workers are only paid $0.75 for one ball!

This human exploitation of Pakistani citizens at Sialkot factories to produce footballs “rigorously tested to comply with FIFA standards” is not the first of its kind.

These factories employed children as young as 5 years old until the state enacted the labor law in 1997.

The Pakistani ball… How did the exploitation begin?

This exploitation dates back to the mid-nineteenth century and is directly linked to British colonialism.

Research reports have revealed that the border town of Sialkot would not have had a monopoly on the football industry had it not been for colonialism.

A report titled “On the Origins and Development of Pakistani Football,” explained that “Britain has established a military protectorate in that city, to exploit its natural resources.”

“As a result of this funded military presence, Pakistani workers have migrated to take advantage of the high demand for goods and services,” it mentioned.

The report also revealed that, during colonialism, “Pakistani artisans’ efforts were focused on providing sporting products to the English in Pakistan or India in general.”

A report to “Ida’at”, a journalistic website, considers that “despite the importance of manufacturing footballs for the Pakistani economy, middlemen prefer that the labor be done in informal places, such as sewing centers or homes, and later the rest of the operations are completed by factory workers,”.

The report pointed out that estimates showed that “about 300,000 workers are directly or indirectly involved in this industry, however, they are not entitled to form unions or file complaints before the labor courts, because Pakistani law does not officially consider them workers.”

It revealed that “with the high unemployment rates in the country over the past twenty years, workers have become victims of exploitation by employers. This is manifested in overtime work, low wages, dangerous working environments, and child labor.”



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