"US sanctions mean that, as a United States company, Nike can not supply shoes to players in the Iranian National team at this time", Nike had said in a statement.
Nike cited the global economic sanctions against Iran as the primary reason for the withdrawal, a effect of the Trump administration's decision to withdraw from the 2015 worldwide nuclear deal and tighten restrictions against the Asian country.
In a statement, Nike said, "U.S. sanctions mean that, as a USA company, Nike can not supply shoes to players in the Iranian national team at this time".
Nike added that sanctions applicable to its business "have been in place for many years and are enforceable by law".
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Some of Iran's players are understood to have asked non-Iranian players from their club teams to loan them boots, while others are said to have acquired them from friends or gone out to buy their own footwear in the shops. "This last comment of Nike was, in my personal view, an unnecessary statement".
Nike's abrupt withdrawal of support from Iran's national soccer team just days before their opening match in the World Cup has left the team scrambling to find shoes for the tournament. Everybody is aware about the sanctions. Team Melli, as they are known, will also face Spain and Portugal as they try to advance out of Group B. "We know their team very well but I suspect they know very little about us".
Iran's coach, Carlos Queiroz, expressed frustration with the move, noting how dramatically it could affect his team's play through the tournament.
"We are only managers and footballers, and should not get involved in such matters", the manager told reporters.