Tony Pignata (born 30 November 1964) is an Australian businessman and former Chief Executive of Wellington Phoenix FC of the Australian A League. He was Chief Executive of Wellington Phoenix Football Club since the clubs' inception in 2007 and resigned his post on 3 June 2010. Under Tony’s leadership the Phoenix made strides, helping to restore the credibility and reputation of football in NZ. His efforts saw the team go within one game of the 2009/10 grand final.
Pignata has been instrumental in creating a much higher profile for football in New Zealand. In his first year he brought out LA Galaxy with David Beckham and packed out Westpac Stadium before a then record Football crowd of 31,853.". In 2009/10 he oversaw the Wellington Phoenix be the first team from NZ to make the playoffs and going within one game of making the 2009/10 Grand Final. Together he and Ricki Herbert assembled a strong squad that was a force in the 2009/10 season culminating in a home semi final win before a sellout crowd at Westpac Stadium against Newcastle Jets.
He had been weighing up a move home for several months but had wanted to achieve three major milestones before leaving – re-sign Sony as major sponsors, see the club get a five-year licence extension, and complete the Boca Juniors match deal.
"I've achieved all of that and I'm leaving football here on a high, so I can go back to Melbourne and look back fondly on the three years. It's been an absolute privilege to play a part in forming and growing a club." ".
Always open and up front with the media, Pignata is well respected by the fans. He was awarded personality of the year at last week's[when?] Yellow Fever awards, ahead of the likes of Ricki Herbert and Paul Ifill.
Prior to this Pignata was also Chief Executive of Football Federation Victoria and prior to that spent 18 years in investment banking.
1. *Pignata scores with NZ franchise 2. * http://www.theage.com.au/news/Sport/Australian-heads-Kiwi-ALeague-newcomer/2007/06/25/1182623793117.html# 3. * |url=http://www.stuff.co.nz/4303397a18075.html 4. * http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/football/3769790/Phoenix-lose-boss 5. * http://www.foxsports.com.au/story/0,8659,27218439-5000940,00.html 6. * http://www.smh.com.au/sport/a-league/pignata-named-new-sydney-fc-ceo-20120531-1zknp.html