Swiss bank Credit Suisse on Tuesday admitted that thousands of free footballs it has handed out ahead of the summer’s Euro 2008 championships could have been made by child labour in Pakistan.
The bank said it “cannot at this time completely rule out the possible involvement of child labour” in the manufacture of the balls, following an expose on Swiss German television.
“Even the mere hint of suspicion that the ban on child labour may have been violated in the manufacture of the footballs is unacceptable to Credit Suisse,” the bank said in a statement.
As a result, Credit Suisse said it will donate 1 million Swiss francs (622,000 euros) to the United Nations children’s fund, UNICEF.
An investigation by Swiss TV station SF1 found that the company mandated by Credit Suisse to produce the footballs, Sunflex International, used Pakistani villagers to do the work for just 35 Swiss cents per ball.
“We sewed a great number of these balls,” one man told the TV reporters.
“Everyone took part, men, women and children,” he said.
Credit Suisse has distributed 200,000 free footballs across Switzerland ahead of the Euro 2008 championships, which take place here and in neighbouring Austria from June 7-29.
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