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ICN vs. Adidas Netherlands

Case overview

Date filed 20 June 2001
Current status Concluded
Issue Labour violations in Indian football production
Summary of the case The complaint states that Adidas' Indian suppliers have violated labour rights in the production of footballs. The complaint is based on the report, “The dark side of football - child and adult labour in India’s football industry and the role of FIFA” (June 2000) and subsequent fieldwork.

ICN reported that during a visit to the Indian supplier of Adidas and another Dutch company, it confirmed there were no unions active. Except for some “stitching centres”, there was no indication that home producers receive minimum wages. There are also occupational health and safety concerns.

According to ICN’s data, the supplier outsourced production to Batala, which FIFA does not inspect. In November 1999, there was strong evidence that this supplier was using child labourers.

Even though Sports Goods Foundation of India stated no licensed production took place in Batala, Adidas has not provided any evidence to the contrary. ICN raised these issues with the NCP after its efforts to raise these issues with Adidas failed.

Developments/Outcome After accepting the case in November 2001, the NCP organized a meeting with the parties in March 2002. The meeting concluded with an agreement between Adidas and ICN and a joint NCP statement being released. In summary, the parties agreed there is a need for:

1) a survey of relevant standards
2) continuous transparency in implementing these standards
3) a continuous process of external monitoring, diffusion and verification
4) strengthening communications between stakeholders
5) ICN to continue taking into consideration independent and reliable information provided by the sporting industry and other stakeholders.

Based on information provided by Adidas, the NCP concluded that the company sufficiently encouraged its suppliers to operate in a socially responsible manner through its code of conduct. The NCP also stated that it had not found any evidence of the use of child labour. In December 2002, the NCP, ICN and Adidas issued a joint statement with some agreement on the need for monitoring of codes of conduct.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Child labour, Health and safety, Supply chain, Labour rights, Investment nexus, Textiles / Apparel

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point Netherlands
NCP address Den Haag, Netherlands
NCP website
Other NCPs involved



Company Information

Company responsible Adidas Benelux b.v.
Company address Plesmanstraat 1
3833 LA Leusden
Company website
Company in violation Mayor & Company
Country of operations India
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Some developments are only visible to logged in users.
Date Actor Action Description Document
1 December 2002 National Contact Point Netherlands joint statement NCP, ICN and Adidas issue a joint statement with some agreement on the need for monitoring codes of conduct. download pdf (53Kb)  
25 June 2001 India Committee of the Netherlands press release Press release which led to questions in the lower House of Commons.  
20 June 2001 India Committee of the Netherlands file Complaint filed with Dutch NCP. download pdf (15Kb)  
1 June 2000 India Committee of the Netherlands report LIW (ICN) publishes “The dark side of football - child and adult labour in India’s football industry and the role of FIFA”. The report provides evidence that the Indian football production industry in and around Jalandhar and Batala, including Adidas’ supplier Mayor and Company, have violated labour rights. Adidas never responded to the report. download pdf (584Kb)  

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