There has been an underlying thought in the football community that the studs on Nike’s SG Pro soleplates (or more specifically the SG Pro soleplate on the Vapor VIII) is excessively sharp, and that thought definitely arose when Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney was injured when he suffered a gash from Hugo Rodallega’s SG Pro Vapor VIIIs. Since then, the PFA has gone on to investigate how safe the studs are. But if the PFA were to ban them, would Nike genuinely stop producing them?
Nike are in quite a hole when it comes to facing the fallout from the Wayne Rooney injury scandal. The injury has kept the Manchester United striker on the sidelines for the past few weeks and was a mere millimeter away from hitting a major artery, a further injury that would’ve kept the T90 Laser IV wearer out for an even longer period of time. Despite the apparent safety concerns over the boot, our review of the SG Pro Mercurial Vapor VIII found the stud configuration to be fantastic for wet weather conditions and Jon favoured them over the other SG options available on the market.
But will this stop Nike making the boot? There may be a chance that Nike will keep producing the boot for amateurs, where the boot may not be banned. While it may be a different sport, there is a case similar to the SG Pro scandal where a certain piece of equipment was only banned in major competitions and not for amateurs.
Back in 2005, cricket bat producers Kookaburra produced bats that had a cover of carbon fibre on the back. The bat was used by many major crickets, most notably Australian Ricky Ponting who scored a colossal amount of runs with the bat during the 05-06 cricket season. Eventually, an International Cricket Council (ICC) investigation found that the batsmen had a slight power advantage by using the carbon fibre and it was banned from all cricket games played under the jurisdiction of the ICC.
However, despite the setback of their major endorsees not using the bat, Kookaburra kept selling the bat to the general public for 12 months after the ICC ruling, running an advertising campaign that said ‘Ricky can’t, but you can’. While the bat has since been discontinued, this is a case where a piece of equipment was banned in major competitions but your everyday amateur could keep wearing them. Nike could definitely follow through with a similar idea. Kookaburra, faced in a very similar situation, kept selling their carbon fibre cricket bats, and we could see Nike selling their SG Pro boots. It does, however, depend on how the PFA’s claim of the boot’s safety is taken by the rest of the world.
If Nike take a similar lead to Kookaburra, it could mean we will see the SG Pro boots around for quite a while. What do you think would happen to Nike SG Pro boots if the PFA ruled them unsafe?