COVID-19 and the football world

Hard times :

"Covid-19 has proven to be a burden for many industries and this football generating industry suffered allot too. Pakistan's otherwise booming sports industry is battling to recover from the shock it took from corona-virus restrictions as the world of sports slowly reopens after a months-long pause. Hundreds of orders from Europe, South America, and the Far East were cancelled due to the global corona-virus lock-down, leaving dozens of sprawling warehouses in the northeastern city of Sialkot famous for producing finest" quality sports goods ,littered with millions of footballs, hockey sticks, cricket bats, tennis balls, and other games-related goods."

"According to exporters, the country's sports business has seen a 70% drop in new orders in the last three months. "The sports business has been damaged by more than just a decline in new orders. We've also had to recall a large number of orders that were either ready to ship or on their way to ship after importers cancelled or delayed them due to the lock-down "According to Anadolu Agency, Ahsan Naeem, CEO of Vision Technologies, a Sialkot-based sports producer. In April and May, Naeem's company had to recall over 100,000 footballs that were set to be transported to other nations."

""Our facilities are loaded with products. However, we have no clients because nothing has happened in the world of sports for several months. "However, a few athletic events have recently begun, but only at a higher level. Sports activities at schools, colleges, clubs, and other domestic levels are still stopped around the world, causing a major setback for the sports business ""Says Naeem," he says. Around 25% of workers lost their employment during the lock-down, according to Husnain Cheema, a former head of the Pakistan Sports Goods Association. "Every week, the unemployment rate rises," Cheema told Anadolu Agency. "Businesses are in serious financial crisis, laying off contract employees as well as some permanent staff from each facility," he said, adding that "another 25% (of employees) are on the verge of losing their jobs if the scenario continues for the next few months.""

 ""Because playgrounds are closed, there are no matches, and people don't have enough area to play football, demand for footballs has fallen dramatically as a result of the corona-virus. As a result, customers have reduced demand by 70% "Waseem Shahbaz Lodhi, managing partner of Bola Gema Pakistan, a firm that manufactures 160,000 balls every month, expressed his surprise."

"Workers at Bola Gema Pakistan's factory are in charge of every element of a football production, from carving and moulding sheets of heated rubber to stitching together the ball's exterior's 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons. FIFA-approved balls, such as those manufactured by Bola Gema, may fetch more than $100 in the United States, more than the monthly income of some of the employees who manufacture them.Pakistan exported upwards of 37 million soccer balls around the world ahead of the 2018 World Cup. Bola Gema has already started producing balls in preparation for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar."

 "While business has slowed as a result of the pandemic's halt in team sports, Lodhi has been on the lookout for his employees."

""Despite the fact that we had been home for two to three months, the owners of Bola Gema continued to pay us. That is why we were unconcerned "According to Saeeda Bibi, a Bola Gema manufacturing worker. The corporation also established a store where employees may purchase cheap household items. According to Lodhi, the shop is made possible by a 10% premium on soccer balls supplied to overseas consumers through the Fair Trade Association. That 10% is returned to Bola Gema employees in the form of decreased prices in the store. Lodhi is optimistic that the soccer ball sector would recover as the pandemic continues."

Ray of sunshine in dark times:

"Pakistan generates $1 billion per year sports products exports, with footballs alone contributing approximately $350-$500 million."

"The revival of some European football leagues, as well as a cricket series that will be played behind closed doors, has given Pakistan's sports sector some relief."

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