Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

International Labor Rights Forum

Trina Tocco, International Labor Rights Forum (USA), + 1 269 873 1000,

Press Release

World Cup Soccer Balls Missed the Goal Set 13 Years Ago: Child Labor, Poverty Wages, Temporary Workers


As excitement grows for the
upcoming FIFA
World Cup beginning shortly in South
Africa, there is a part of the World Cup
that many sports fans will not see.  The workers stitching soccer balls
Pakistan, India, China
and Thailand
continue to experience alarming labor rights violations even 13 years
after the
soccer ball industry signed the "Atlanta Agreement" committing to
clean up the industry. The
Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) released a new report titled "Missed
the Goal for Workers
: the Reality of Soccer Ball Stitchers in
Pakistan, India,
China and Thailand" today

The research found that the decade-long effort by governments,
companies, and
other stakeholders to eliminate child labor in this industry has seen
limited success. Child labor still exists in soccer ball production in
India and Pakistan.

"Even after all of these
years, low wages and a
dangerous working environment in the industry remain almost entirely
unaddressed," reports Bama Athreya, Executive Director of the International
Labor Rights
.  "It's time for buyers, factories and
industry associations such as FIFA to take responsibility for continued
rights violations in the production of soccer balls."

The report highlights that:

  • More than half of the 218
    workers in Pakistan
    reported that they did not make the legal minimum wage per month.
  • In one Pakistani
    manufacturer, ILRF
    researchers found that all interviewed stitching center or home based
    were temporarily employed resulting workers not having access to
    healthcare or
    social security.
  • In the same Pakistani
    manufacturer's supply chain, female home-based workers faced
    discrimination based on their gender. They were paid the least and faced
    possibility of losing their jobs permanently due to pregnancy.
  • In one Chinese factory,
    workers were
    found to work up to 21 hours a day during high seasons and without one
    day off
    in an entire month.
  • Indian stitching centers
    described as "pathetic." Proper drinking water or medical care
    facilities, and even toilets were often absent.
  • Child labor was identified
    workers producing for three different factories in Pakistan.

ILRF is calling on the
soccer ball
industry to take immediate action to address the issues of extremely low
and proliferation of temporary workers to improve conditions for the
who produce the balls at the center of the 2010 World Cup.

The report will be
available on June
7, 2010 at:


ILRF is an advocacy organization dedicated to achieving just and humane treatment for workers worldwide. ILRF serves a unique role among human rights organizations as advocates
for and with working poor around the world. We believe that all workers
have the right to a safe working environment where they are treated
with dignity and respect, and where they can organize freely to defend
and promote their rights and interests.

NYC Mayoral Candidate Eric Adams Rebuked for 'Dangerous' 400-Students-to-1-Teacher Theory

"Defunding schools to the point that we have a 400:1 student-to-teacher ratio so we can bankroll another huge expansion in an already-multibillion dollar police budget," said Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, "is how you build a school-to-prison pipeline."

Jon Queally, staff writer ·

Lack of Patent Waiver Would Add Over $70 Billion to Cost of Vaccinating World: Oxfam

Most of that money, said a spokesperson for the group, "will go directly into the pockets" of Big Pharma shareholders.

Jon Queally, staff writer ·

Darnella Frazier Receives Pulitzer Special Citation 'for Courageously Recording the Murder of George Floyd'

"Without Darnella, Derek Chauvin never would have been tried and George Floyd would have been blamed by the state for his own death."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·

'We Are Sounding the Alarm': Global Left Warns Right-Wing Fujimori Trying to Steal Election in Peru

"Fujimori’s only way forward to victory is simple: annul tens of thousands of already tallied votes," warned Progressive International. "Powerful forces are organizing to deliver this outcome."

Andrea Germanos, staff writer ·

'Climate Denial Masquerading as Bipartisanship': Progressives Reject Latest Infrastructure Compromise

"Refusing to act on climate means selling out future generations. The future of our planet and the health of our communities are non-negotiable."

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·