Iran goes into their FIFA World Cup 2018 opener today (Friday) against Morocco at the St. Petersburg with the Nike shoes “hurting them the most”.
The US footwear, sports apparel and athleisure brand Nike had stopped supplying Iran’s football team with game shoes just ahead of the World Cup following the US sanctions against the Islamic State.
Nike in a Statement had said the company was forbidden from supplying kit to the Iranian team as it prepares for its opening World Cup game.
“US sanctions mean that, as a US company, Nike cannot supply shoes to players in the Iranian national team at this time,” the company has stated in a statement published by ESPN. “Sanctions applicable to Nike have been in place for many years and are enforceable by law.”
According to the US Treasury, any US entity found in violation of sanctions could face hefty fines.
Iran coach Carlos Queiroz had earlier called on Nike to apologize to his team after the U.S. sportswear firm said it could not supply the players with football boots for the World Cup due to sanctions.
“Players get used to their sports equipment,” Queiroz said. “It’s not right to change them a week before such important matches.”
The players, going into their crucial World Cup opener were left to deal with their “worst shoe problem ever” at their own.
The players have been reportedly running around to the members of the other teams, which do not support brand Nike, to borrow a pair of playing shoes. The only other offer they are left with for now was to buy shoes at their own.
Media reports from Russia state, the lack of a reliable supply of boots puts players in a tight spot, especially if weather or field conditions are less than ideal.
As Iran step on to the field at St Petersburg for their 8.30 PM (IST) tie against Morocco, the players in all likelihood will be divided in make, design and colour of shoes.
This certainly was not the appropriate time for the Iran football team to feel the server pinch of their “shoe problem”.