Crew announces new general manager as Tim Bezbatchenko leaving club

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Columbus Crew will get a new general manager as its former head is leaving the club.

Issa Tall will take over as GM, after previously serving as the assistant general manager for six seasons. The team plans to hold a press conference with Tall at the field at 2 p.m. Friday.

“While I’m excited about this opportunity for many reasons, the vision, culture and commitment to excellence we share is at the top of the list,” Tall said. “Everyone is dedicated to improving and being their best for our team, city and supporters, and I thank Wilfried Nancy, our players and entire technical staff for creating that type of environment as we strive to accomplish our goals.”

The Crew announced that Tim Bezbatchenko, who was part of a front office that oversaw two MLS Cup title wins, will be leaving Columbus after more than six years with the club. Bezbatchenko will pursue a job with Black Knight Football Club, which owns English Premier League club AFC Bournemouth. The Cherries will be entering their third straight season in the EPL and are fresh off a 12th-place finish last year.

“The past five-plus years with the Crew have been nothing short of remarkable,” Bezbatchenko said in a release. “It was truly special to help launch a new era for the Club with an exciting brand of soccer and the ambition to win trophies for our city and supporters who have long stood by this team. Along the way, I have been fortunate to work alongside so many great leaders, coaches, technical and support staff and players across the Crew and HSG.”

Before Bezbatchenko came to Columbus, he was hired as the general manager for Toronto FC after three years as MLS’ senior director of player relations. The Westerville native oversaw multiple major signings in Toronto including strikers Jermain Defoe and Sebastian Giovinco. Giovinco’s run in MLS was highlighted by a 2015 MVP award and culminated with an MLS Cup title in 2017.

Bezbatchenko left Toronto to take the job with his hometown club the Crew in January 2019, right after the club secured new ownership to stay in Columbus and not relocate to Austin.

He oversaw numerous changes for the Crew beginning with the then club-record signing of Lucas Zelarayan in 2020. The team would win MLS Cup later that year and in 2021 moved to Field and opened the new OhioHealth Performance Center.

The team reset its club record transfer with the signing of Cucho Hernandez in 2022, who helped lead the team to an MLS Cup title in 2023 and the CONCACAF Champions Cup final in 2024.

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