US Sporting goods brand Nike has confirmed that is has stopped supplying Iran’s football team with boots ahead of the World Cup in Russia due to sanctions.
A statement by Nike said it was forbidden from supplying kit to the Iranian team as it prepares for the World Cup which begins on June 14th (Thursday). It said US sanctions mean that, as a US company, Nike cannot supply shoes to players in the Iranian National team at this time,” Nike said. “Sanctions applicable to NIKE have been in place for many years and are enforceable by law.”
According to ESPN report from Moscow, Iranian officials are said to be ”baffled” by the decision, as they noted that the US company had supplied them with football gear for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Speaking about the decision former Manchester United assistant and current Iran boss Carlos Queiroz said he was frustrated with the decision and said” Players get used to their sports equipment, and it’s not right to change them a week before such important matches”. The report by ESPN didn’t stop there though as it was reported that Iran’s players responded to the decision by asking non-Iranian players on their club teams for a loan of boots, while other had went and bought their own.
This Nike move now comes on the back of tense relationships between Washington and Tehran with President Trump pulling out of the Nuclear agreement and re-imposing sanctions it previously wavered. Iran are set to begin their World Cup on Friday afternoon when they play Morrocco, before they face difficult games against Spain and Portugal.