Sydney - Around half a million children’s footballs will be recalled in Australia after two balls, believed to have been stitched by child labour in India, were found with needles in them.
The Australian Associated Press (AAP) said the footballs were used as part of a nationwide programme for children. Around 450,000 balls will be recalled.
The recall of the balls, made in 2011 and 2012, came as the Australian company confirmed claims that one of its sub-contractors was using child labourers in India.
Chris Lambert, managing director of the company, said about 9,000 balls were sent to the Indian sub-contractor this year to be stitched, but 450,000 will be recalled as a matter of “extreme caution”.
Lambert said the needle fault was linked to the sub-contractor who breached manufacturing standards when it outsourced, unauthorisedly, the stitching of balls to families in Jalandhar in Punjab.
“This is first time we have received evidence of the use of child labour. I was appalled to find this occurred. We’re shocked by this absolutely,” Lambert was quoted as saying by the AAP.
The controversy was triggered by a man who told The Age newspaper he had a 2011 football with a needle in it.
Lambert said another ball that did not reach a consumer was found with a needle in it.
A thorough investigation was carried out but no action was taken, AAP said.
Profits from a football tournament were also to be donated to an Indian charity, Manov Sehyog society, Lambert said.