x

Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Iran angered by Nike football boot ban

The company said it is complying with new US sanctions

A picture taken on June 12, 2018 shows Nike football shoes of Iran's forward Mehdi Taromi during a training session in Bakovka, outside Moscow, ahead of the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament. AFP / Alexander Nemenov
A picture taken on June 12, 2018 shows Nike football shoes of Iran's forward Mehdi Taromi during a training session in Bakovka, outside Moscow, ahead of the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament. AFP / Alexander Nemenov

Iran’s national football team has reacted with anger after Nike said it would refuse to provide players with its boots for the World Cup due to new US sanctions.

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

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

"Sanctions applicable to Nike have been in place for many years and are enforceable by law."

Last month, US President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the deal that traded a lifting of international sanctions for restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear weapons programme.

He said he would reinstate crippling sanctions on the Iranian economy that had been waived when the 2015 deal was struck between Iran and five world powers in July 2015.

The US Treasury has said that any US entity found to breach the sanctions could face severe financial penalties.

Mr Queiroz, whose side face Morocco in their Group B opener on Friday, said it was an unnecessary statement and asked Fifa to help.

______________

Read more

Iran nuclear deal countries meet in Tehran

Putin criticises US withdrawal from Iranian nuclear deal

______________

"It has been a source of inspiration for us," Mr Queiroz told British broadcaster Sky Sports. "This last comment of Nike was, in my personal view, an unnecessary statement. Everybody is aware about the sanctions.

"They should come out and apologise because this arrogant conduct against 23 boys is absolutely ridiculous and unnecessary."

He said that the Iranian management team was to complain to Fifa about the sportswear ban.

“We are only managers and footballers, and should not get involved in such matters,” the manager told reporters. “But we are asking Fifa to help us with this.”

Iranians have now taken to social media to express their displeasure at Nike’s decision, initiating a hashtag “No to Nike”.

One user threw a pair of Nike shoes in a rubbish bin, calling the decision an “insult” to Iran and its citizens.