The following article was written by an Iranian citizen journalist on the ground inside the country, who writes under a pseudonym to protect her identity.
Before Friday, June 15, there was not a huge market for Iranian National Football Team jerseys and sports paraphernalia — including flags, hats, headbands and armbands. Sports shop employees reported that there was little demand for the merchandise. Then Iran defeated Morocco at the World Cup — and suddenly sales were booming.
Of course, sales had moderately increased by Friday morning anyway, the day that Iran faced Morocco at 7:30pm Tehran time. When the weekend had begun for Iranians, coinciding with the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, many rushed to markets around the city, and especially to Tehran’s Moniriyeh Square, to buy the national team jerseys and other merchandise. But after the win, sales really took off.
Most interesting were the nimble and agile street vendors who quickly rushed to Tehran’s main thoroughfares, their cars packed with wares. And it was good business; their clients didn’t disappoint. They enthusiastically showered money on the vendors, buying jerseys, flags, bugles and red, white and green hats, the colors of the Iranian flag.
One salesman at a shop called Tavakoli explained why the market for the national team’s jerseys had been somewhat depressed prior to this. “Many could not even imagine that this year the national team would get anywhere at the World Cup,” he said, “especially because most professional and zealous football fans support either Esteghlal or Persepolis and they were very unhappy with Carlos Queiroz because he had not included Jalal Hosseini [from Persepolis] and Voria Ghafouri [from Esteghlal] on the team. So they were not very inclined to cheer on the national team.”
“They Made History”
“But,” said the salesman, “when, after 20 years, in its first game at the World Cup against Morocco the national team made history by winning, everybody — football fans and non-fans — were overjoyed. They felt they had to join the celebrations and show their support for the team. So the market picked up and many people bought jerseys and other paraphernalia.”
According to him, people began to notice that others were wearing jerseys or waving flags but they realized they didn’t have anything, so the rush was on to make sure they did. “This feeling was stronger in children and teenagers,” he said, “So it was logical that we sold many more smaller sizes.”
Families are big customers for these goods, and have also rushed to sports shops. They say they want to prepare themselves for Iran’s next game in the World Cup, against Spain on Wednesday, June 20.
It’s worth pointing out that it is impossible find authentic jerseys of the national team, made by the German company Adidas, for sale in Iran. Domestic companies have stepped in and offered knockoffs at various prices and various qualities. A good quality jersey made of quality fabric can cost somewhere around 150 thousand tomans, or over $35 — not a small sum for T-shirt in Iran.
Farideh Hosseinpour, Citizen Journalist
More about Iran at the 2018 World Cup:
Iran’s Victory against Morocco: The World Responds, June 17, 2018
Iran’s Last-Minute Miracle Win, June 15, 2018
Iran Fans in Moscow's Red Square, June 14, 2018
Iran vs. Morocco: The First Challenge, June 14, 2018
Decoding Iran’s Politics: Football and State Interference, June 11, 2018
Iranian Football and US Sanctions, June 13, 2018
One Day to go Until the World Cup, June 12, 2018
Get to Know Iran’s 2018 World Cup Team, June 7, 2018
Football Star Azizi Discusses the 2018 World Cup, May 31, 2018
Iran Is Going to the World Cup!, June 13, 2017