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World Cup 2018: Nike withdraws supply of football boots to Iran national team due to new US sanctions

Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear agreement has had a serious impact on Iran’s national team at the World Cup with coach Carlos Queiroz issuing a plea for help

Jack de Menezes
Wednesday 13 June 2018 14:00 BST
2018 Russia World Cup in numbers

Nike has withdrawn its supply of football boots to Iran football for the World Cup in Russia due to the new United States sanctions that have been imposed, the American sportswear giant has announced.

Last month, President Donald Trump reimposed economic sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from the nuclear deal between the Middle East nation and the US’ European allies after labelling the agreement “decaying and rotten” and “an embarrassment”.

Due to Trump’s announcement, a number of leading companies have since suspended activities in Iran, including Nike and their kit agreement with the national team just days before they start their campaign at Russia 2018.

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

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

Had Nike gone through with supplying the Iranian team with football boots, they could have faced substantial fines under the US Department of the Treasury’s regulations.

Current Iran had coach Carlos Queiroz, who worked with Sir Alex Ferguson as his assistant at Manchester United and also led the Portugal national team to the 2010 World Cup, has issued a plead for help to Fifa after being left in serious trouble on the eve of the tournament.

“Players get used to their sports equipment, and it’s not right to change them a week before such important matches,” Queiroz said in Russia.

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

Carlos Queiroz has issued a plea for help to Fifa (Getty)

The decision by Nike has also prompted a fan backlash after a number of Iranian supporters posted videos on social media of them throwing their own boots in bins, labelling the move “an insult to [Iranian] people and all football lovers” and another claiming it made the players “symbols of humiliation”.

The move is the latest problem in what has been a turbulent build-up to the 2018 World Cup, with Iran having their friendlies against Greece and Kosovo cancelled.

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