Toronto FC hires first-time GM Bezbatchenko

The 31-year-old joins Toronto FC from Major League Soccer's offices, where he worked as the senior director of player relations and competition.
Toronto FC has turned to the MLS league office for the latest change in its general manager chair.

TFC named Tim Bezbatchenko as its new general manager Friday, bringing in the 31-year-old from MLS headquarters, where he worked as the senior director of player relations and competition.

For Bezbatchenko, who played two seasons in the United Soccer Leagues, the general manager position is his first, but Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment president and chief executive officer Tim Leiweke feels the man's knowledge of the league's complicated salary cap and roster structure will make him an asset.

“If you look at the track record with this club, where we have had our problems has been with cap management and our contracts,” Leiweke told reporters on Friday. “We have not done as good a job of developing relationships within Major League Soccer with other general managers. ... We had a few people on our list, but we were pretty specific that we think the league is changing.

“We think if you look at the NBA, they're a good example for us to follow – where analytical skills, the ability to understand the cap and manage the cap, and, as someone has called him, a wonk, is a high priority for us going forward.

“We want to be in a position where we do a better job of analyzation than any other club in the league.”

The hiring of Bezbatchenko, while expected given reports this week, will be seen as an out-of-the-box move, given the former league executive's relative unknown status beyond MLS' inner circles.

“When you think about my experience at the league office, the primary responsibility, for me, was managing the budgets of six of the team's budgets and rosters – as well as some of the other teams,” Bezbatchenko said. “But through that I learned ways to get the most out of your budget. I saw teams make mistakes, I saw teams do the right things.

“I think in my experience one of the key things is making sure you have proper cap management and that you don't have inefficiencies on your budget.”