Brazil changes uniforms for Olympic tournament

Aug. 08, 2008, 9:32 p.m. (ET)

SHENYANG, China (AP) Brazil will not wear its official Nike uniform in the remainder of the Olympic tournament because of a dispute between sponsors and concerns it could affect Rio de Janeiro's bid for the 2016 Games.

Brazil's national teams are sponsored by Nike, but the Brazilian Olympic delegation is sponsored by Olympikus, which was upset that the football squads sported uniforms from one of its competitors in the first two matches of the competition.

In addition, rules of the International Olympic Committee say that nations should not wear confederations' emblems on uniforms during the games, and Brazil's Nike jersey has the football confederation badge on it.

"The president of the Brazilian football confederation, Ricardo Teixeira, accepted the Brazilian Olympic Committee's request that the Olympic team did not wear the official jersey because it would blemish Brazil's bid to host the 2016 Olympics," the Brazilian football confederation said in a statement Saturday.

Rio de Janeiro is a finalist to host the games along with Chicago, Tokyo and Madrid, Spain. The IOC will select the host city in October 2009.

The Brazilian committee had said before the Beijing Games that it would not be in the nation's best interest to have one of its Olympic teams wearing a different uniform, saying that it could cause problems to its bid.

"Teixeira decided accept the committee's request to avoid any embarrassment or inconveniences to the city's bid for 2016," the football confederation statement said.

Brazil's contract with Nike is valid until 2018.

The Brazilian women's team will be the first to drop the official jersey for its match against North Korea on Saturday at the Shenyang Olympic Stadium. The men's team will do the same against New Zealand on Sunday, also in Shenyang.

Neither squad has ever won the Olympic gold medal for Brazil in football.

The Brazilian women lost the final of the 2004 Olympics in Athens to the United States. It also was fourth in Sydney in 2000 and in Atlanta in 1996, when women's football began at the Olympics.

The men's team won the silver medal twice, in 1984 in Los Angeles and 1988 in Seoul. It won the bronze in 1996 in Atlanta.

"All the players and the Brazilian people are proud of the jersey with the five stars on it," said Ronaldinho, referring to the uniform's emblem which reflects the team's five world titles in men's football. "We could still wear it, but if it gets in the way of Brazil's bid to host the 2016 Olympics, we have to understand it and accept it."

Brazil will host the 2014 World Cup.