Team Melli to wear Germany’s Uhlsport at AFC Asian Cup

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Financial Tribune – TEHRAN, Iran’s national football team will wear Uhlsport jerseys for the upcoming AFC Cup in January, Hedayat Mombeini director of the marketing committee of Football Federation of Iran told ISNA.

Following the decision by Adidas not supply sportswear to the team after the Russia World Cup, the federation sought an alternative and signed a year-long contract with the German Uhlsport brand, the FFI official said Sunday.

German company Adidas cut ties with Team Melli after the Trump administration withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in May. The US has said companies working with Iran would not be able to work with the US, and considering its massive US market, Adidas canceled its contract with Iran after the World Cup.

Few days before the opening of the games in Russia, Nike said it would not provide Iran boots due to the US restrictions. A statement from Nike said, “US sanctions mean that, as a US company, Nike cannot supply shoes to players in the Iranian national team at this time”.

However, Nike’s decision was seen as controversial because the company supported Iran in 2014 Brazil World Cup with boots despite the US sanctions.

“The initial steps in finding the new provider were taken shortly after the World Cup in Russia,” said Mombeini after making preliminary agreements to work with Uhlsport. Several domestic and foreign brands were keen on sponsoring the team, but the German company was picked “to uphold the dignity of Team Melli”.

The federation received offers for commercial contracts (in which the companies would sell their jerseys) but it turned them down to take a sponsorship deal which was deemed economically more feasible.

Sponsorship Deal
Following the sponsorship contract, Uhlsport will provide the national football teams (men and women in all age categories) with free jerseys. The federation will also be entitled to financial gain for advertising the German brand.

Football clubs and national teams use their jersey and boot deals for profit. The money is then used, among other things, to pay for friendly games. Iran, however, missed the opportunity to get a sponsor for the World Cup and had to pay for its kits.

The national federation had failed to hold talks with Adidas in time to set a sponsorship deal and the procrastination resulted in a commercial deal with the German manufacturer in which Iran was forced to purchase the players’ jerseys.

Carlos Queiroz, Iran manger since 2011, who is set to renew his contract soon, told the media last week that lack of appropriate friendly games before the World Cup was one of the reasons the team did not advance to the second round of the games.

In case of qualifying to the knockout stage, it would have been the first time the country would have reached that level.

Exclusiveness
Each country’s kit is based on the colors of its national flag and elements introducing the nation’s culture and identity. But Iran’s outfit at the Russia World Cup was simple due largely to the fact that the contract was signed at the eleventh hour.

The Asiatic cheetah imprint was on the national team jersey in 2014 World Cup in Brazil but in their latest kit it was diminished to a coin-size sticker on the chest of the players.

Following the contract with Uhlsport, the company has promised to bring the Asiatic cheetah back to the jerseys. There have been talks about the design being exclusive for Iran.

After taking the initial steps to ink the contract, Uhlsport has given the first set of kits to the team for the training sessions which are currently underway in Tehran. The federation released the provisional squad list on Saturday that includes 29 players.

Names of players such as striker Kaveh Rezaei from Club Brugge KV and Voria Ghafouri of Esteghlal are in the list while they were not present in the Russia World Cup.

The 17th edition of the AFC Asian Cup will be held in the United Arab Emirates from January 5-February 1, 2019.


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