Nike withdraws Iran World Cup squad's supply of boots due to sanctions

  • Nike withdraws Iran World Cup squad's supply of boots due to sanctions

Nike withdraws Iran World Cup squad's supply of boots due to sanctions

United States-based sport and clothing company Nike announced it will not provide cleats to Iran's national team ahead of the 2018 World Cup, scheduled to begin on June 14, citing USA sanctions.

The backdrop to the development is the Trump administration's recent decision to withdraw from the worldwide nuclear deal made three years ago, and to intensify the restrictions against Iran.

Iran has also requested Federation Internationale de Football Association to address the matter as the team prepares to play its first game against Morocco on June 15 in St. Petersburg.

Victoria Coates, special assistant to President Trump, on President Trump's decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, Trump's handling of North Korea and the confirmation hearings for CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel.

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

An ESPN report from Moscow said the Nike decision had left Iranian football officials baffled, noting that the United States company had supplied the team at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil when similar sanctions were in effect. "Players get used to their sports equipment, and it's not right to change them a week before such important matches", he said.

Sports Illustrated reported most teams in the World Cup - an global tournament played every four years - have a footwear sponsor.

Some Iranians have spoken out against Nike's decision to adhere to them and encouraged others to boycott the company's products, using the hashtag #NoToNike on Twitter. Trump said the USA would re-impose sweeping, harsh economic sanctions on Iran. Team Melli, as they are known, will also face Spain and Portugal as they try to advance out of Group B.