One week out from the World Cup and international tensions are rising as Nike Inc (NYSE: NKE), an American sportswear giant, said their cleats won’t be provided for the Iranian National team following the Trump administration’s plan to reimpose sanctions on the country last month. New sanctions were in place after President Trump announced its withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal.
Sportswear companies like Adidas, Puma, and Nike sponsor deals with some of the world’s best soccer teams for the World Cup for one of the most popular sports events globally. About 60% of players at the World Cup would be wearing Nike’s cleats, while Adidas will be providing outfits for 12 out of 32 team.
Due to international sanctions, the Iranian National team struggled to gain sponsorship. Nike still sponsors individual Iranian players outside of the country in other soccer clubs like Swedish-born Iranian striker Saman Ghoddos, however it’s unclear what Nike will decide on this.
Iran manager Carlos Queiroz had something to say in response to the Nike's refusal to supply the team.
“Players get used to their sports equipment, and it’s not right to change them a week before such important matches,” Queiroz said in a training session in Russia. “We call on FIFA to come to our help in this issue.”
Iran was the first nation to start preparing for the World Cup in Russia on Tuesday and will play against Lithuania on Friday, and Kazan on June 20th.