Auckland FC’s majority owner hires president to oversee global portfolio

Auckland FC’s parent company Black Knight Football Club have appointed their first president to oversee their global football portfolio.

Tim Bezbatchenko, who is currently the general manager of Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew, will be responsible for Black Knight’s growing portfolio of clubs that already includes English Premier League’s Bournemouth, French club FC Lorient and Scotland’s Hibernian, as well as Auckland FC.

Main photo: Tim Bezbatchenko … ‘Modern football requires taking a globally integrated approach.’

Black Knight Football Club owner Bill Foley said: “We are excited to add a leader of Tim’s calibre as we continue to build BKFC’s multi-club model.

“His track record of success includes a commitment to developing players and providing first-class facilities and fan experiences, all of which are bedrocks of our approach throughout our network of world-class football clubs.”

Auckland FC founder Bill Foley … building Black Knights’ multi-club model.

Bezbatchenko, who takes up the new role in July 2024, said: “I am thrilled to join Black Knight Football Club and its portfolio of clubs that compete in many of the top domestic competitions in the world.

“Modern football requires taking a globally integrated approach, with cross-border player transactions integral to creating sustainable success.

“I look forward to working with the leadership across BKFC’s clubs to facilitate player development and player movement to optimize collective team performance on the pitch as well as with our commercial teams to deliver a world-class experience for our supporters and partners.”

Auckland FC is majority-owned by BKFC, with former All Black Ali Williams and businesswoman Anna Mowbray owning a minority stake.

The club will make its debut in the men’s A-League for the 2024-25 season, and enter the women’s A-League a year later.

About Tim Bezbathenko

Born in Ohio, Bezbatchenko (42) played college football for the Richmond Spiders and had a season with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the third tier of the US league structure.

After studying economics and leadership, he graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Law he worked as an attorney before joining Major League Soccer where he spent three years as the senior director of player relations and competition.

His role included negotiating and drafting player contracts, and finalising loans and transfers for players in or out of the MLS competition.

He became general manager of Toronto FC in 2013 and left in 2019 to become president and general manager of Columbus Crew.

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