Tuesday, July 13, 2010

FIFA 2010 World Cup Ends Without Sialkot-made Football

Unlike in every FIFA World Cup, where Pakistan is represented in every game in the shape of Sialkot-made Footballs, but unfortunately this year all the Footballs for the FIFA World Cup South Africa were made in China and not Pakistan.

Pakistani footballs, of course, have a long history of being kicked around in Football World Cup tournaments. From the iconic Telstar (which was the first designated official game ball, at the 1970 Mexico World Cup and then at the 1974 World Cup in Germany) to the even more iconic Tango (the official ball of the 1978 and 1982 World Cups in Argentina and Spain), and even at the last World Cup in 2006 in Germany, hand-stitched, high-performance from Pakistan - really from Sialkot - have been the preferred choice for Adidas, the official providers of match balls to the FIFA World Cups.

At one time, Pakistan’s export city of Sialkot was catering to 85 per cent of the total world demand for high-quality inflatable balls, but No longer. Technology is a major factor in tilting the balance against the local industry. The penetration of machine-made balls hit the Sialkot hand made stitched soccer industry.

In order to cope with the menace of machine made balls, the SME Development Authority has at put in place the final steps for the establishing of the Sports Industries Development Centre. It is expected that this project worth Rs435 million will enable the Sialkot sports manufacturing industry to adopt modern technology, without which there is no going forward.

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