Few people might have heard of the city of Sialkot, in the Punjab province of Pakistan. I certainly hadn't. But right now this poverty-afflicted region is staging a potentially amazing sports story.

Sialkot is the football production capital of the world. Its citizens produce over 40 million footballs a year. Roughly 75% of the world's entire production stems from this one town and its often shabby environs.

Via an assortment of poorly-paid labour forces the balls are hand-stitched, a laborious process that means one stitcher, working an eight-hour shift, might make just three or four balls in a day.

Tens of thousands of locals are involved in these factories. Just about every time you see a football - on TV, in a Barclays Premier League game, in the Champions League or a World Cup fixture - the chances are the ball was made in the back-streets of this Pakistan town.

Now here's the rub. The big sports franchises, such as Adidas, tend to have a monopoly on the sports ball industry. Adidas are in with the bricks at FIFA and made the "Jubulani" ball which was used at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The manufacturer is also official supplier for the Champions League and supplied footballs for the 2012 London Olympics.

Behind the scenes, however, the prolific production of footballs, such as those in Pakistan, while beautifully crafted by hand, tends to mean poor wages and working conditions for women stitchers. It is no fluke that, in parts of Sialkot, where the football industry is prodigious, there is also dire poverty.

Adidas purchase footballs from sub-contract suppliers in Sialkot. In recent years the brand, which operates 1200 factories worldwide, has been stung by criticism of its worker-conditions in different locations. Adidas themselves have made moves to try to combat this.

Fairtrade, the campaign group for better working conditions in under-developed countries, is now seeking to challenge the big brands. With some temerity Fairtrade has moved into the football-production market, establishing its own factories right on the doorsteps of the other producers in Sialkot.

Now there is an alternative to the "big franchise footballs" in the high street stores. Today you can buy (or order online) a Fairtrade football, made to the same high specifications, but which bears the Fairtrade logo.

That logo will mean, back in Sialkot, decent wages and a guarantee of good working conditions - and in increasing cases free medical aid - for those who make the balls. It has been estimated that the Fairtrade stitchers earn 50% higher wages than the other stitchers in the region. It also means absolutely no child-labour.

Fairtrade have introduced a "premium" for every ball bought. It means that, ranging from 20p to £2 per ball, depending on the range, the money collected from each purchased ball will go on medical centres, credit unions and other projects to help hoist Pakistan's "football stitchers" out of poverty.

This is a brilliant initiative - but it needs help. First, from the retailers (in Britain to date hardly any shops stock Fairtrade balls). Second, from the politicians.

In Scotland, here is the question: do we have the political will to do something to enhance the lives of the football stitchers in Pakistan? Can we embrace a Fairtrade football in this country?

For instance, imagine if the SFA, the SPL or the SFL decreed that, in future, maybe just for a season, they were going to use Fairtrade footballs?

Or what about our current SNP government? It often claims to be zealous and innovative about social justice and overseas aid.

Couldn't the SNP co-sponsor something like the Scottish Cup or the Scottish League Cup, with Fairtrade as its sponsor partner? Now that really would be radical, effective, life-changing politics.

Personally, I'm not a Fairtrade contributor or campaigner. I know as much about the organisation as the next person, which is to say, I see their logo on my supermarket bag of coffee.

But this Fairtrade move into football is both bold and exciting, given the manufacturing giants in its way. This is football's ultimate David versus Goliath story.

Fairtrade footballs deserve a chance to succeed, and I hope the professional game somewhere can reach out and embrace the initiative.