Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Vice-President Paul Beirne Leaves Toronto FC as MLSE Rings in Another Change

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Vice-President Paul Beirne Leaves Toronto FC as MLSE Rings in Another Change

Article excerpt

Vice-president Paul Beirne leaves Toronto FC

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TORONTO - Paul Beirne, Toronto FC's vice-president of business operations and the franchise's first employee, is leaving the MSL club.

Beirne, whose December departure is the latest in a string of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment moves, says he leaves the team with plenty of good memories.

"This Saturday's TFC match will be my last with the club," Beirne tweeted Thursday. "Thank you for 7 seasons of awesome moments! So proud to have been a part of it!"

Toronto wraps up its season Saturday against the visiting Montreal Impact.

Beirne, 47, was offered another position outside of soccer at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment but declined.

"The organization structure changed with the new leadership," Beirne, choosing his words carefully, said in an interview.

He already has a new job lined up, although he declined to detail his next challenge.

MLSE president and CEO Tim Leiweke has rung in the changes since taking over MLSE this summer.

Toronto FC president and Kevin Payne was fired last month, with Tim Bezbatchenko taking over as GM.

Leiweke, the man who brought David Beckham to MLS, has been particularly hands-on with TFC since taking charge. Leiweke, Bezbatchenko and manager Ryan Nelsen recently returned from a scouting trip to Europe in search of marquee talent.

MLSE revamped its senior management in July and COO Tom Anselmi stepped down last month.

Asked if he would have stayed with the soccer team if he had his druthers, Beirne replied diplomatically: "I will always be part of TFC."

While Toronto has been a model franchise in many regards off the field, its lack of success on the pitch has been galling -- and fan support has suffered as a result.

The 5-17-11 team has missed the playoffs for the seventh straight year. The team has averaged 18,439 at BMO Field, which ranks 10th in the league this season, and attendance plummeted to 12,627 in a rain-drenched loss to Sporting Kansas City last month. …

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