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Sialkot to have Sports Industry Development Centre
Aug '08
A Sports Industry Development Center (SIDC) is on its way to be set up in Sialkot by the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency (SMEDA) with a capital investment of Rs272.16 million for upgrading and modernizing the sports goods industry of the region.

A special emphasis will be given on the soccer ball manufacturing sector for enabling it to deal with the emerging challenges of the global market. Prof Safdar Sandal, Former Chairman of Pakistan Sports Goods Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PSGMEA) told reporters that this initiative was taken to help keep a check on global growing threats from soccer balls manufactured on mechanical machines.

Mr Safdar further noted that development of SIDC would help the sports sector adopt new and better technology of mechanized ball manufacturing which is rapidly replacing the hand-stitched inflatable soccer ball.

Giving further details, Mr Safdar informed that the sports goods sector of Sialkot was the main nerve centre of the sports goods industry in the country with total exports of about US $350 million per annum. As a matter of fact, Sialkot supplies about 85 percent of the total world demand of hand stitched inflatable ball which means that it exports 40 million balls worth $210 million.

It was also observed that the business community of the region engaged in sports goods industry was taking tremendous efforts for producing high quality and standard products which in turn would enable the domestic industry to become more competitive in the global market in keeping with the modern trends and demands.

Sialkot soccer ball exporters went one step ahead and proposed for establishing an international standard soccer village in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

However, Mr Safdar harped on the need to increase public interest in the sphere by setting up, state of the art institutions for imparting standard technical and professional education, which could benefit the masses for getting the required training.

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