Businesses in Windsor-Essex feeling 'red carded' with Italy's World Cup absence

Perennial favourite and four-time champion Italy will not be appearing in this year's FIFA World Cup — leaving many Italian-owned businesses in the area feeling left out.

Italy is missing the World Cup for the first time in six decades

Mike Baraslievski, owner of The Running Shoe on Wyandotte Street East, said it's a "bummer" for Italy not to be competing in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. (Arms Bumanlag/CBC)

Some businesses in Windsor-Essex feel like they've been 'red carded' with Italy's absence in this year's FIFA World Cup.

Perennial favourite and four-time champion Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades back in November of last year.

"As a fan and as a business owner that has some interest in soccer [merchandise], it's a bit of a downer to say the least," said Mike Baraslievski, owner of The Running Shoe on Wyandotte Street East.

The Running Shoe will experience a financial setback due to Italy not being in this year's World Cup, according to owner Mike Baraslievski. (Arms Bumanlag/CBC)

The Running Shoe

For Baraslievski, Italy's disappearance from the World Cup is a financial blow to his store. He said a lot of casual viewers of the sport watch because of Italy.

"Now that Italy is not a part of it, I'm sure a lot of people down on Erie Street will notice that here. We're going to notice it here as well."

All he can do is hope fans of other countries will make up the difference.

"Not having Italy will definitely be a setback," Baraslievski said.

Filip Rocca, co-owner and president of Mezzo, is disappointed to know his restaurant will not come alive as it did in 2006 when Italy took home the World Cup. (Arms Bumanlag/CBC)

Mezzo

Filip Rocca, president and co-owner of Mezzo, knows Erie Street is Windsor's hub for the Italian community. He said surrounding businesses are not expecting a big crowd during the games.

"It's very disappointing. When we didn't make it, it didn't settle in for me for a while," Rocca said.

"The farther we go on into the World Cup, the busier we get — so it would've been great for business in the street."

He expects people from other nationalities to come to Erie Street to watch the World Cup, but said nothing will compare to the size of the crowds which showed up when Italy won in 2006.

"Hopefully, in the future, we'll feel that again."

Sunny Sadaat, owner of Flag & Sign Depot, said one of his store's biggest buyers is Italian-based. (Arms Bumanlag/CBC)

Flag & Sign Depot

Sunny Sadaat, owner of Flag & Sign Depot, said business has been slower with Italy's absence in the World Cup. He said products for other countries have been selling "okay."

"[Italy] is one of the biggest nations in Windsor, so it does affect our business."

But he is hopeful to sell other flags.

"I'm sure people are going to [support] the other teams ... The game brings the people together."

WATCH | CBC Windsor Morning host talks World Cup with two former players:

with files from the CBC's Arms Bumanlag

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