The German Bundesliga and development cooperation


Fair play in Gujarat, India: “From Field to Fanshop” is a project that supports smallholder farmers in the conversion to organic cotton and guarantees purchase to produce fan merchandise for nine German football teams.

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is supporting the project “From Field to Fanshop”, implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) from 2022.

Together with the sustainable textile company BRANDS Fashion, Fairtrade Germany, and nine football clubs in the 1st and 2nd Bundesliga and the 3rd Liga, GIZ aims to bring fairly and organically produced cotton to football fanshops. The participating clubs are 1. FC Union Berlin, Arminia Bielefeld, Eintracht Frankfurt, Hamburger SV, SV Werder Bremen, VfB Stuttgart, VfL Wolfsburg, Borussia Dortmund and FC St. Pauli.

“From Field to Fanshop” improves the livelihood of smallholder farmers in India, one of the world’s largest cotton-producing countries. Organic cotton is better for soil and water and for income stability. But due to the long conversion phase from conventional to organic cotton, many producers cannot afford to make the switch. The project bridges this gap by training farmers in sustainable farming methods, improving access to improved seeds, and guaranteeing purchases during the conversion period. 450 smallholder families are participating.

At the same time, the project offers sports training, enabling children and young people from the neighbouring cotton farming communities to learn new soft skills, such as self-esteem and knowledge about environmental protection and resource conservation. So far, the project has worked with 1,000 young people as part of the “sports for development” initiative, placing a particular focus on improving the self-confidence of girls and young women.

Eventually, the project will offer sustainably produced fan merchandise. Fans will be able to support not only their club, but also good living conditions and climate and environmental protection along the supply chain. To create a connection between football fans in Germany and project participants in India, AKRYL is responsible for interviewing project partners and participants, telling stories about their experience. This includes blog and social media posts as well as visual storytelling via project videos. AKRYL has also organised communication workshops, created content planners, supported project management, and mediated between project partners.