Black Knight Football Club (BKFC), owned by Hibs shareholder Bill Foley, has appointed its first president. 

Tim Bezbatchenko, who previously held key roles within Major League Soccer (MLS), has been installed to assist the clubs in BKFC's network, including Hibs, to 'improve and better coordinate player development and recruitment, enhance player pathways, and optimise commercial opportunities' in order to deliver 'on-field success and strong financial performance'. 

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The Ohio native played college football for the Richmond Spiders as he studied for a BA in economics and leadership studies before playing a season with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the third tier of the US league structure, playing 31 games as the team won its maiden title.

He graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Law and after a spell working as an attorney for Shearman & Sterling in New York in their mergers and acquisitions group, joined MLS and spent three years as the senior director of player relations and competition. His responsibilities included negotiating and drafting player contracts as well as finalising loans and transfers for players coming to, or leaving, the league.

He also oversaw the league player pool and team salary budgets and was tasked with overseeing the youth and player development initiatives for MLS. He also served as a liaison with the US Soccer Federation and its Canadian counterpart, the Canadian Soccer Association.

In 2013 Bezbatchenko joined Toronto FC as general manager and helped the club achieve its two best seasons in its history, including a run to the play-offs. He also played a key role in signing England striker Jermain Defoe and US internationalist Michael Bradley, as well as Italian forward Sebastian Giovinco, who smashed multiple MLS records during his time at BMO Field.

He left Ontario in 2019 to join his boyhood club Columbus Crew as president and general manager. His arrival coincided with the Crew narrowly escaping a move to Austin, TX under previous ownership. During his time at the club he oversaw numerous developments including the construction of a brand new stadium and training facility and two MLS Cup wins in 2020 and 2023. Speaking to the Sports Business Journal during his time in Ohio he said: "By nature, I like being a builder... if you could down to Columbus and take that team from that current status to building a new stadium and being contenders, let alone winning, that would be this incredible sports story'. 

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Black Knights 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."

Bezbatchenko added: "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. I would like to thank Bill Foley, Ryan Caswell and Cannae Holdings for providing this opportunity.

"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 optimise collective team performance on the pitch as well as with our commercial teams to deliver a world-class experience for our supporters and partners."