Iran’s players competing in the 2018 World Cup in Russia will not be receiving new pairs of Nike cleats.
According to a CNBC report, the brand said it is not providing cleats to the Iranian National Team this year due to a plan from President Donald Trump’s administration to reimpose sanctions on the nation. Last month, Trump announced and signed an executive order to withdraw the U.S. from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and restore the sanctions on Iran.
Nike did not return requests for comment by time of publication.
In the CNBC report, the National Iranian American Council denounced Nike’s decision.
“For many Iranian Americans, the World Cup is a rare chance to put aside the politics that complicate our relationship with our ancestral homeland and just enjoy rooting for Team Melli. Nike is dragging politics back into the picture and souring what should be a global celebration. Nike was an outspoken opponent of Trump’s Muslim ban that targets Iranians, yet now here they are helping enforce this new shameful policy against Iranians. We hope they will join us in pressing for the Trump administration to reverse course and ensure sports aren’t turned into a political tool,” the council told CNBC in a statement.
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Carlos Queiroz, team manager for Iran, asked for FIFA to take action after Nike’s decision, the report states.
“Players get used to their sports equipment and it’s not right to change them a week before such important matches,” Queiroz told CNBC.
World Cup action begins Thursday, and Iran’s first match is scheduled for Friday against Morocco. Game time is scheduled for 11 a.m. ET and will be shown on TV live on Fox.
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