Western Sydney Wanderers CEO John Tsatsimas to step down at end of season

Western Sydney Wanderers FC today announced that John Tsatsimas will step down from his role as Chief Executive Officer at the conclusion of the season.

The Wanderers CEO handed in his resignation to Wanderers Board today.

As the club’s foundation General Manager of Football and Chief Operating Officer, Tsatsimas oversaw the building of the Wanderers from the ground-up from his kitchen table in Sydney’s west. 

A crucial component to the foundations of the club’s on-and-off field progress, Tsatsimas was made Chief Executive Officer in July 2014 before leading the club to an unprecedented AFC Champions League success in November 2014.

Born-and-bred in Western Sydney, Tsatsimas spent every waking hour over the past 10-seasons focused on the Wanderers.

Known throughout the sports industry as JT, he has overseen the development of the Wanderers Football Park including nine premium pitches, a Centre of Football, Academy buildings, soon to be complete Wanderers five-a-side complex, as well as multiple commercial projects for the Wanderers long-term sustainability. 

Wanderers Chairman Paul Lederer had nothing but praise for Mr Tsatsimas.

“One thing people need to know about JT, is that he lives and breathes football, it is in his DNA and he has worked tirelessly for almost two decades in the professional game in this country,” said Mr Lederer.

“He is one of the most passionate and considered people working in the game and has overseen every aspect of the game from commercial changes, to driving outcomes in Collective Bargaining Agreements and player welfare improvements in this country. 

“Running a football club in this league is no easy task, but JT has committed a decade of his life to ensuring that no matter what is happening on-and-off the pitch, progress in building the Western Sydney Wanderers Football Club has continued at a rapid pace.”

“Football cannot live in stasis, we must strive towards creating an infrastructure and footprint in this country that provides the development of our players, our clubs and our ecosystem to thrive for decades to come,” continued Lederer.

“In under 10-years this club has been in three Grand Finals, won a Premiers Plate, been in three AFC Champions Leagues, won the Champions League, and competed at the Club World Cup.

“These achievements have created a name in football that is known around Asia and the world, the Western Sydney Wanderers. 

“The last five years we have also developed away from the pitch, with outstanding community programs, award-winning marketing programs, a commercial partnership network that is second-to-none in this league, and on top of this, the best football facilities in the country.

“None of this was done outside of JT’s leadership and guidance, and while results on the pitch have not met the lofty expectations we have set for ourselves, JT has built the foundations of a club that are impeccable.”

APL Commissioner, Greg O’Rourke said:

“JT has leadership and conviction at the core of his business values and he has shown time after time the value he brought to the League. 

“He thinks deeply about the game, its future and the real challenges we had and will continue to have as we all seek to achieve our aspirations for the game. Always focused on the whole of the game he led many initiatives, stood shoulder to shoulder and fought for what he believed in. Working in football is never easy, and courageous leadership in this industry requires a special level of commitment and deep love for the game. 

“JT was much more than a CEO of one club, he was a champion for our game.”

Football Australia Chief Executive Officer, James Johnson said:

“John (Tsatsimas) departs Western Sydney Wanderers having made a telling contribution to Australian football over the past seventeen years.

“Having been with the Western Sydney Wanderers since their inception, John’s leadership and vision has helped the Wanderers to achieve success both at home and abroad, with the club’s triumph on the continental stage in the 2014 AFC Champions League an iconic and special moment in his tenure.

“But football is about so much more than what happens on the pitch at the elite level. As such, football thanks John for his work in broad areas of the game – from helping to advocate for and deliver football facilities, to helping to unite diverse communities through positive messaging and initiatives, and promoting inclusive forms of football such as Powerchair, John has taken a holistic view to his role at Wanderers which in turn has made a powerful impact on the Western Sydney community.”

PFA Co-Chief Executives Kate Gill and Beau Busch said:

“John has worked for the betterment of the game for a long period and in particular played a critical role with the A-Leagues clubs to ensure positive outcomes through several collective bargaining agreements with the players.

“His most recent work during negotiations was important in delivering a model for sustainable recovery following the impact of the pandemic.”

Wanderers CEO John Tsatsimas thanked the club for a memorable 10-years.

“Today, after considering the current season and in the face of some personal immediate challenges, I have made the hardest professional decision of my career in advising the Board of my intention to stand down,” said Mr Tsatsimas. 

“After 10 years as a collective we have built this club into something that most other sporting organisations can only dream of. That is everyone. Members and fans, volunteers, past and present players, coaches, commercial partners, Board and staff.

“To think where it all started from – a hotmail account and a kitchen table. The facilities that we have here now are the envy of every sporting organisation in this country. The stadium we play in is second to none as is the Academy program we have set up for the youth of Western Sydney. 

“To see an area where I am born and bred develop a team that represents its people on the highest stages cannot be forgotten. Our community programs and integration into the community laid the foundations and represent the values of this great club. I am extremely proud of that. I’d like to make special mention of the Board of the Western Sydney Wanderers for their belief in the region of Western Sydney and their belief that football and sport is an important part of its fabric. 

“To the fans, although the road has been undulating at times, this is your club and please continue to support it to the very end. 

“I’d like to thank Chairman Paul Lederer for his friendship and continued support throughout my time at the Wanderers. This man’s passion for football has no bounds. There’s an amazing group of staff that are unsung heroes. They have given all for this club. Some have moved on over the years. Many are still there. 

“I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the support you have given me, the love you have shown for this football club and passion you have demonstrated for the Western Sydney Wanderers. 

“I wish you all the very best,” finished Mr Tsatsimas.

Mr Tsatsimas will finish with the club at the conclusion of the A-Leagues season.