The Ball — football’s equivalent to the Olympic torch — has arrived in New Zealand after leaving London’s Battersea Park a year ago.
Using the motto One Ball, One World, The Ball has been used to promote gender equality and climate change awareness through workshops, games of football and other suitable events, as a project team has carried it across the planet.
The goal was to bring The Ball, and have it covered in signatures by the time it arrived in Auckland, in time for the opening day of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
After collecting signatures and pledges of support from more than 10,000 people in Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia and Oceania, The Ball marked its arrival in New Zealand with a workshop for 25 girls aged 9-12 at Auckland’s Fencibles United club.
‘Another great day’
Club spokesman Aaron Carson said it was a privilege for the club to be part of The Ball’s world tour.
He said the children signed the ball, played games and took part in a workshop. They also carried out a clean-up of William Green Domain.
“Another great day had by all,” he said.
The Ball’s project team has been led by former New Zealand U-20 international Andrew Aris, founder of the Germany-based Spirit of Football organisation.
Aris has written an open letter to New Zealanders, explaining how football can help create a better world.
Main photo: Andrew Aris (left) with Damian Light, chair of the Howick Local Board,
The Ball visits Fencibles United
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.
The Ball will be touring Auckland and the Waikato prior to the start of the FIFA Women’s World Cup on Thursday July 20.
It heads to Wellington on July 24 and then goes to Melbourne on July 29.
Signing The Ball
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.