Friday, 19 October, 2018

Nike Seeks to Stop Iran's National Team From Using Their Cleats

The Iranian team in training ahead of World Cup Nike are forbidden from supplying kit to the Iranian team for the World Cup Credit AP
Cary Erickson | 14 June, 2018, 07:46

Iran's national team was always going to face a hard challenge trying to compete with more-established nations at the World Cup, but suddenly there is a new obstacle for its players: what to put on their feet.

Iran manager Queiroz, who has been in charge of the side since 2011, has expressed disgust about his players being denied access to the footwear to which they were accustomed just a few days before their World Cup opener against Morocco.

In a statement, Nike said, "U.S. sanctions mean that, as a US company, Nike can not supply shoes to players in the Iranian national team at this time".

"US sanctions mean that, as a U.S. company, Nike can not supply shoes to players in the Iranian national team at this time", Nike said in a statement.

After President Trump cancelled the Iran nuclear deal, American companies like Nike were restricted heavily from trading with the Middle Eastern state.

Nike's use of the sanctions to justify its decision has raised concerns because in 2014, when economic sanctions were in place against Iran, the national team wore Nike cleats during the World Cup games.

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Coach Carlos Queiroz has called on the sportswear firm to apologise to his team after the decision.

"They should come out and apologize because this arrogant conduct against 23 boys is absolutely ridiculous and unnecessary", Queiroz said.

The ESPN report said Iran's players had responded to the decision by asking non-Iranian players on their club teams to loan them soccer shoes, while others had bought their own from stores.

"Players get used to their sports equipment", Queiroz said.

The Iranian soccer federation has contacted FIFA, the governing body of the World Cup, to help address the matter, ESPN reported.

Iran will begin its World Cup run on Friday with a match against Morocco, followed by matches against Spain and Portugal to finish out the group stage of the tournament.