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The Ball has long experience advocating for issues such as people with special needs and displaced communities and has always promoted unity, within nations and across borders. Partners, like Special Olympics in 2010 and 2014, have been able to use The Ball to get their messaging on the table of high level decision makers (Presidents, Prime Ministers, Ministers of Sport etc.), to acquire new sponsors and gain access to funding, as well as benefiting from high-profile public relations opportunities. The Ball 2022/23 will work with local organisations on route, learning about their climate initiatives and letting them use The Ball to throw a spotlight on their work. They will also become part of a global inclusive platform of exchange on climate change. Together with these local partners, The Ball will gather climate and equality pledges from individuals, football fans, as well as sport, business and political leaders. SOF and its local partners will hold these leaders to account for the pledges that they make.

Sign The Ball and Pledge Commitment

The Ball advocating for the rights on people with intellectual disability at an event in Lome, Togo in 2010.

With increased awareness that the climate crisis is touching every aspect of human life, football being no exception – The Ball will listen to, accumulate and deliver climate action messages, acting as a megaphone, as it meets with numerous actors in education, sport, business and politics in the 23+ countries along the way from London to Auckland. 

The Ball meets decision makers on route, including Presidents and Prime Ministers of nations. Here in Istanbul with Mayor Hayri İnönü in 2018.


The Ball being presented to fans at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin before a Bundesliga match on route to Russia in 2018.

The Ball will especially target the football community en route: visiting clubs, meeting players, administrators and media representatives and being presented to fans at matches and events. The Ball will collect messages of support, signatures and climate pledges from theses individuals. High profile football personalities, like SOF’s Fair Play Ambassador Jürgen Klopp, will make climate and equality pledges on route in 2022 and 2023.

Liverpool FC’s Manager Jürgen Klopp, who is SOF’s Fair Play Ambassador, meets The Ball at Liverpool FC in 2018.

The Ball’s message supported by these pledges, learnings from university partners and research en route, and Media/TV/Film/Social Media, will be delivered to FIFA at the 2023 Women’s World Cup (Australia/ New Zealand). Our partner Worldmark Films will help us showcase these messages and to reach a wide audience.

The Ball’s messaging has been shared on, BBC Radio, CNN, ZDF and by a host of national and international media organisations. Above, The Ball and SOF Director Phil Wake in an interview with in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2010.

The learnings from The Ball 2022/2023 will be used to influence further climate action leading up to and at both the “United 2026” Men’s World Cup (Canada/Mexico/USA) and the 2027 Women’s World Cup (tbd).


Pledgeball is ‘on loan’ to Spirit of Football for The Ball’s next journey. It will accompany The Ball, garnering pledges from The Ball’s signatories along the way, highlighting the significant impact football fans can have through their individual choices. It will use football’s reach to highlight climate action taking place and shining a light on the different kinds of lifestyle pledges that are most relevant to the fans along The Ball’s path. A global pledge list will be drawn up, kicking off new ways of thinking about how individuals can tackle climate change wherever they are.

The Ball aims to partner with clubs on route from London to Auckland, encouraging their fans to sign The Ball, pledge and make lifestyle changes.

Due to the popularity and diverse reach of football, fans have huge potential power, both by directly reducing carbon emissions, and by bringing about significant societal change. Just 1 million fans simply reducing their shower time to 5 minutes saves the same amount of carbon emissions as taking over 75,000 petrol and diesel cars off the road.

When you think that over 500 million fans watched the 2018 men’s World Cup final, you begin to see the potential. This is just a small part of fans’ influence however: through talking to our family, friends and clubs about the impact we can have through these everyday choices, we can encourage even bigger numbers of people to make sustainable choices, too, so placing pressure on businesses and governments to follow our lead and consider our beautiful ball (aka planet) in all of their decision-making.

Sustainable Development

On The Ball 2022 to 2023 SOF will especially focus on the following SDGs:

SDG 4: Quality education: SOF will run educational workshops on the topics of fair play and sustainability in schools, communities and companies on The Ball’s route from London to Auckland.

You learn better when you are having fun. Here young people and an SOF trainer cheer on others at a Fair Play Future school workshop in Bautzen, Germany in 2019.

SDG 5: Gender Equality: SoF’s Fair Play Football methodology encourages girls and women to enjoy playing football in a fun and fair way without being judged. On route in 2022 to 2023 The Ball is partnering with the NGO Equal Playing Field to advance equal opportunity and respect for girls and women every step of The Ball’s journey.

A female Syrian refugee celebrates scoring a goal playing while football for the first time at the Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan in 2019

SDG 10: Reduced Inequality: SoF’s projects in socially disadvantaged communities & its international humanitarian work with refugees aim to reduce inequalities. The climate crisis has only increased inequalities across the globe, both within nations and between nations. The Ball’s next journey aims to expose this inequality and suggest local solutions.

We use art to include some of the most marginalised in society. Here a physically disabled Syrian refugee trainer and an SOF trainer show respect in front of the graffiti which resulted from our 5-day TOT workshop in Azraq, Jordan in 2019.

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production: Since 2010 “The Ball” has been a fairly produced ball. SoF uses fairly produced balls in its education project “Fair Play Future”. The Ball 2022/23 will be a fairly produced ball, hand made by our partner the charity Alive and Kicking in Kenya.

We use fairly produced balls in our projects and on all of The Ball’s journeys since 2010. This one, our SDG ball, is made by the charity Alive and Kicking in Kenya.

SDG 13: Climate Action: On route in 2022 to 2023 The Ball will work with Pledgeball to encourage individuals and organisations to pledge their commitment to undertaking concrete climate action.

The Ball’s journey will encourage football fans to pledge via Pledgeball to reduce their CO² emissions.

The Ball 2018 left England on 25th March 2018 and travelled to the World Cup in Russia.

The Ball 2014 kicked off from England on 9th Jan 2014 and headed to the World Cup in Brazil.

The Ball 2010 left England on 24th Jan 2010 headed to the Opening Ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Ball 2006 travelled from London to the Opening Ceremony in Munich, Germany.

The Ball 2002 was carried 7000 miles across Europe and Asia to the World Cup finals in Korea & Japan.