The Ball — football’s equivalent to the Olympic Torch — has arrived in Fiji on its way to Auckland, in time for the opening game of the FIFA Women’s World Cup on July 20.
The project — which aims to raise awareness of climate change and gender equality — will attend a number of events in Fiji before heading to Kiribati on June 19.
As The Ball travels from London to Auckland, it’s being signed by supporters of the project.
Main photo: The Ball … collecting signatures from around the world.
New Zealand activities
The Ball’s project team will be in New Zealand for a month and are keen to hear from groups, clubs or organisations who would be interested in hosting an event.
Here’s the project team’s diary for their latest travels …
Fiji is outspoken on climate change issues. Its population is existentially threatened by climate change.
Fiji is also a sports-crazy nation. People love sports in Fiji and football itself has a long and healthy tradition.
Spirit of Football aims to connect climate change and sport to encourage Fijians to come together to talk about the impacts of a changing climate on their lives and the games they love to play.
Accordingly, Spirit of Football’s team will run workshops with our partner Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area (FLMMA) that foster discussion about fairplay, gender equality and climate with both youth and women in the Fijian fishing communities and also in schools in Fiji.
We aim too, with the help of the Fijian Football Association, to explore how football is playing its part to help make a positive social difference in Fijian society and also how it can do even more.
The Ball in Fiji is being supported the German Embassy of New Zealand and the Swedish Postcode Foundation.
Events in Fiji include:
- World Ocean Day at a school workshop in a village near Suva.
- Workshop with youth in Tavua Village.
- Workshop with women in the fishing industry in Nasama Village in Sigatoka.
- Presentation of The Ball to the FFA Congress in Suva.
- The Ball at 2023 Digicel FA Cup Tournament in Suva.
As The Ball travels around the world, it gathers signatures of individuals who pledge support to advance gender equality and climate action.
Since 2002, more than 56,000 people in 56 countries have signed The Ball.
From 2022 to 2023, 57 partner organizations have organized more than 30 events and workshops that have encouraged action on climate change and gender equality amongst football enthusiasts.
Where it all started
The first person to sign The Ball on its 12-month global climate action and advocacy mission was Football Fern Katie Rood, who plays for Hearts in Scotland, and who kicked off The Ball’s journey in London.
“Everyone loves the World Cup, but if we are to be able to continue playing it in the future, we need collective and urgent climate action. The journey of The Ball across land and sea from London to New Zealand is an opportunity for football to get its environmental act in order. I am going to take action. Are you?”
Spirit of Football’s Ambassador and Liverpool FC manager Jürgen Klopp is also supporting The Ball: “It is a ball for us all. Be part of our team. Everyone can play. Respect your teammates, your opponents and the environment. One Ball, One World.”
How you can help
Do you want to be involved in the project? Follow The Ball’s journey and make your own pledge.