Global Brands Group, Fifa’s licensee, says it has ordered a probe into media reports that Chinese workers making Zakumi dolls for the World Cup were being exploited.
Their statement reads:
Global Brands Group (GBG) and FIFA are aware of recent media articles pertaining to the manufacturer of the Zakumi figurine …
As FIFA’s exclusive worldwide Master Licensee, GBG is taking the lead role in the review of this specific manufacturer of this figurine. Prior to these media reports, no specific issues had previously been raised with GBG regarding this particular facility. GBG has taken appropriate steps to contract Intertek (the world’s largest independent testing, inspection and certification organisation) to conduct an immediate ethical and social compliance audit and inspection of this facility. An important step in this process is to liaise directly with the parties concerned and ascertain all the key facts surrounding any claims. FIFA is being kept informed on the progress of the review.
From the outset, GBG has sought to only deal with the “best of the best” manufacturers and distributors worldwide to help produce and sell official licensed product for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. As often as possible first choice of production is South Africa, however, in cases where this is impossible international manufacturing partners are considered.
By virtue of GBG’s manufacturing and distribution license agreements and letters of undertaking from third party manufacturers, licensees and their respective third party manufacturers have committed to comply with the Code of Conduct of the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) and the declaration on fundamental principles and rights at work adopted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). These codes include, but are not limited to, the legal compliance of national laws and international working condition standards, the non-use of forced labour, non discrimination, freedom of association, prevailing industry wages, standard working hours, no child labour and safe and hygienic working conditions for all, etc.
“Global Brands Group takes these matters very seriously and we have therefore launched a review audit as a matter of priority. We wish to stress the fact that the Chinese manufacturer in question does not produce any of the other Zakumi plush toys, merchandise or products that are available in the market place. Global Brands Group has a variety of other manufacturers that handle these products and they are in no way linked to the same factory or industrial plant.,” says Paul Zacks, General Manager of Global Brands Group SA.
Two events on almost opposite ends of the world – and yet both could have big repercussions on sport in South Africa.
The one was a warning by Fifa, football’s world governing body, telling Iraq’s Olympic Committee to reinstate the national football association board it had dissolved or face suspension.
The similarity with what’s happening at home is frighteningly similar. The SA Olympic Committee, Sascoc, has suspended the board of Athletics SA (ASA) and on Monday finally moved into the federation’s headquarters to take over. Read More…
In due course, Fifa want to run an information campaign about various things, including what a 2010 World Cup ticket really looks like! The above example is not a real ticket, in case you’re wondering.
I had lunch today with Jan Bergman, the former world junior-welterweight title contender who impressed – but failed – against champions Kostya Tszyu and Zab Judah so many years ago. Now 38, Bergman insists he still has a few fights left in him and is hopeful of lifting the SA junior-middleweight title in the near future.
I’m not entirely convinced that Jan should be mixing it in the ring at this stage of his life, but don’t mind me – I’m ultra-conservative when it comes to guys getting their brains scrambled in the ring.
Nonetheless, we had a nice chat, touching on the informal inquiry, set up by Sport Minister Makhenkesi Stofile, that is being conducted into SA boxing. Pugilism in this country needs a major overhaul – that’s obvious. In fact, in a recent Parliamentary question, Stofile said if the Boxing Act allowed him to, he would have dissolved Boxing SA’s board last year already.
There is a myriad problems within the sport, but our conversation got me thinking – is there any correlation between the decline of boxing worldwide, and the fact that this is the only once-mainstream sport that is not run by a central governing body? I believe so.
Soccer has Fifa, cricket has the ICC, rugby the IRB and so on. But when it comes to boxing, there are a whole bunch of world sanctioning bodies (WBC, WBA, IBF, etc) as well as a horde of promoters who are pretty much in cahoots with the world sanctioning bodies. These organisations earn their money from sanctioning fees paid by promoters, who in turn make their millions from TV rights, tournament sponsors and site fees.
Take a close look, and you’ll notice that sanctioning bodies rate boxers who are handled by the promoters they work with. That means good boxers who don’t have connected promoters get overlooked – how unfair is that?
Promoter Rodney Berman once said that boxing is not a sport, it’s a business. And perhaps that is the problem. Maybe it’s time for boxing to centralise under a single organisation, and get rid of the promoters. Don King and most of his colleagues would happily stage a bout between Superman and Mickey Mouse if they thought there was money to be made. Profit is their only concern – not necessarily the issue of whether it’s a genuine sporting contest. Having promoters in sport is an old-fashioned concept – they are dinosaurs and they will surely die out.
The promoters are effectively the middle men, so why not cut them out? Imagine how much extra money the TV companies and sponsors could save, or how much morre would be available without Don King, Bob Arum and the likes taking their lucrative cuts?
It’s time for boxers around the world to revolt and form a single world federation to resurrect their sport.