It’s absolutely mind-boggling how things could be so straightforward and simple and help a variety of people in many different ways, yet we opt to go down the most complex route. You’re stood at the stadium waiting in the queue to purchase a refreshing pint to forget the troubles of the opposite team’s striker. Once you’ve bought your beer, you question where your money is going too. The likelihood is nowhere significant.
What’s this all about? The simple answer is Fairtrade. Fairtrade is an international movement represented by the Fairtrade Foundation. Fairtrade works directly with businesses, consumers and campaigners to make trade deliver for farmers and workers. The International Fairtrade Mark is the world’s largest and most recognised certification of the Fairtrade system; you can see this on over 4,500 products. In other words, if you buy a Fairtrade product rather than a regular one, then the people who worked hard to produce the product are guaranteed minimum prices and gain a premium which can be reinvested into local communities.
It’s questionable why Football Clubs don’t choose to sell Fairtrade products as they are widely available almost everywhere and have numerous benefits. The first professional club to sell Fairtrade footballs was Brentford FC, despite this, this isn’t enough. We need more teams to step up and take it to the next level, like Brentford. What do they sell at football clubs? Beer, Coffee, Chocolate, Crisps come to mind and guess what; there are Fairtrade versions of all of these which all taste identical, if not better.
To be fair, one football club has done an excellent job for Fairtrade and has done much more despite being one of the lowest ranked teams in British Football. Despite not being confirmed as an actual Fairtrade football club, they wear Fairtrade kits as well as playing with Fairtrade footballs. Genesis FC is unable to be classed as a Fairtrade Football Club until the Fairtrade Foundation writes the criteria for this, which shouldn’t be too long. This team has put in the effort to support Fairtrade despite only playing in the North Leicestershire League’s Premier Division. Small clubs like this can do it yet the big ones can’t? It’s not that they can’t do it; it’s about the will to do it.
So if small clubs who participate in grassroots football (who are more likely to close down and earn no profit) can make a contribution to Fairtrade then the big clubs clearly show how little they deem Fairtrade to be important. The way a club reacts to Fairtrade can tell you a lot about the club. On a positive note, the more teams supporting Fairtrade (professional or grassroots) will send a message upwards. If more teams support Fairtrade, the only outcome is a variety of frequent positives.
So, let’s take a look at what major football leagues could look like if they adapted their systems to sell Fairtrade products. The Emirates Stadium houses 60,000 fans every single week, every minute 2000 pints can be poured which means after 90 minutes and half time, a total of 210,000 pints can be poured in total. If each pint sells for £3, that’s £630,000 made from just one match, this means that if it was Fairtrade beer, the workers who brought you the beer can get out of poverty and set up schemes to help other inhabitants of the area. Overall, we recognize that Fairtrade products don’t just bring many benefits to workers but also is a morally right thing to do. You may think this is odd, but it is down to you. If your child plays grassroots football, suggest to the coach about playing in a Fairtrade kit with a Fairtrade ball. The more smaller teams and the more campaigners backing the idea who are contributing to Fairtrade, the sooner the bigger teams and companies are going to realise what’s right.
Here are some useful links:
By Ethan Inkler