German sports equipment maker Adidas-Salomon AG have said they may stop producing footballs in Pakistan and move production to China and India. The world’s number two sportswear and equipment makers are currently sourcing footballs to be sold during the 2002 World Cup from four plants in Pakistan.

Tensions in Pakistan have been running high since the US started bombing neighbouring Afghanistan in response to the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. ‘We work with four suppliers in Pakistan, and we have plans should things become really bad to move production to China and to India’, Anne Putz, Adidas spokeswoman said, but added any move would not lead to a production shortfall.

The plants in Pakistan manufactured two million footballs for Adidas last year and employed as many as 5,000 people as of late 1999. Putz said Adidas would move production away from Pakistan if violent unrest made it difficult to export products or transport the necessary raw materials to the factories.

Putz said the firm have also evacuated 18 expatriate employees and their families from an administrative office in Indonesia amid fears of attacks on US and British citizens by radical Indonesian groups.

‘All of the affected employees have been relocated’, Putz said, adding that the move had at this stage had no effect on production in Indonesia, home to some of Adidas’ footwear suppliers.

Source: Daily Business Recorder, Karachi