Two years after our first report ‘Foul Play’, our new study in collaboration with the Collectif Ethique sur Etiquette and the Clean Clothes Campaig goes further in analysing the business model of Nike and Adidas, and assessing its impact on workers in garment factories.

While millions of people are getting ready to cheer their favorite teams during the Football World Cup, our new report “Foul Play Sponsors leave workers (still) on the sidelines” demonstrate that the sponsorship battle between Nike and Adidas – who will outfit 22 of the 32 teams taking part in the competition – has never been more fierce:

  • 65 million euros : this is the record-breaking annual amount paid by Adidas to the German national team, the current world champion, which multiplied its sponsorship revenues by three since 2016.
  • 143 million euros: this is the inflation since 2015 of the combined annual sponsorship revenues of the 10 largest European clubs.
  • 25 million dollars: this is the estimated amount to be received by Cristiano Ronaldo each year throughout his lifetime, the first football player to ever sign such a deal, which could earn him 1 billion dollars in total.

In the meanwhile:

  • Nike and Adidas are decreasing their share of supply coming from China because of the rising cost of labour, and increasingly relocate their sourcing in Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam where workers’ mean wages are 45% to 65% below the living wage.
  • Workers only receive 0.8 euros for a World Cup jersey sold 90 euros, whereas Adidas or Nike earn 18 euros in net profits.

If these leading sportswear brands had stopped overbidding and had kept a constant amount of sponsoring expenses since 2015 (an already record-high level), the spared hundreds of millions of euros would have enabled to assure a living wage for more than a million workers in Asia.

Two years after our first report “Foul Play” published during the Euro 2016, our new study shows there have been no positive changes for workers in Nike’s and Adidas’ supply chains; on the contrary, as their business model prioritizes benefits’ maximization and shareholders’ earnings,  worker’s wage – as always – are relegated to an adjustment variable, despite the declarations of intent of these companies in favour of a living wage in their supply chains.

In the context of the 2018 World Cup, the Clean Clothes Campaign – and the Collectif Ethique sur l’Etiquette in France – demand that major sportswear brands implement concrete measures to ensure a living wage for the workers in their supply chains, without whom their outstanding economic growth would not be possible.

More than 20 years after the first scandal has hit the sport’s industry (Pakistani child labour denounced in Nike’s supply chain in 1996), they call for a binding international regulation, such as the pioneering law on ‘duty of care’ adopted by France in March 2017 or the draft treaty on “Transnational companies and human rights” under negotiation at the United Nations.


Download the report:  “Foul play, Sponsors leave workers (still) on the sidelines


In the medias:


Campaigns’ website: Improving working conditions in the global garment industry