American sportswear company Nike has announced that it has withdrawn its supply of boots to Iran’s national team. The decision comes just days before the 2018 World Cup begins and they say it’s being done because of new US sanctions.
In May, US President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal that his country and others had with Iran. The president also spoke about bringing back the sanctions against Iran that were waived when the deal was reached in 2015.
Nike said in a statement published by ESPN that the sanctions mean that the company cannot supply shoes to players of the Iranian national team. Carlos Queiroz, the manager of Iran’s national team, told reporters that players get used to their sports equipment and that it is not right for them to change that a week before the matches. He also asked FIFA for help on the situation.
Iran will play its first match of the 2018 World Cup against Morocco on June 15. The tournament begins on June 14 with host Russia facing Saudi Arabia. The World Cup preparations for Iran have not gone smoothly as two of its friendly matches were cancelled. Earlier this month, the country cut ties with Greece over a cancelled friendly. A second friendly match was quickly organized after the cancellation of the match against Greece. Iran was hoping to face Kosovo but that was also cancelled. In early April, the Iranian Football Federation cancelled a friendly match against Syria.
Iranians have taken social media to call for a boycott on Nike while others have said it is normal that US companies do this while there is sanctions. This is not the first time that there is a situation involving a team and a company trying to avoid fines.
Earlier this year, something similar happened before the Winter Olympics. It was announced before the event that the teams of Iran and North Korea would not receive the limited edition Galaxy Note 8 from Samsung. The company hands out free smartphones to teams and staff before the event but reports said the two teams would not receive them due to sanctions from the UN.
The organizers of the sporting event also had to make a few changes since the teams could not use uniforms and equipment from US companies. Nike, the official sponsor of that event, could not supply the uniforms to the women’s hockey team since South Korea and North Korea agreed to play together.