Aucklander Neil Coventry is the new chief executive of the New Zealand Football Foundation.
Coventry, a former president of Birkenhead United, has 15 years’ experience working in the sport sector, most recently as Training Venue Programme Manager with Tātaki Auckland Unlimited.
In his role, he led the upgrade of 11 training venues in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Coventry (43), who played over-35s football for Birkenhead United last season, started in the NZFF role in late 2023, replacing Melanie Longdill who left earlier in the year.
England-born Coventry gained a Sport Science BSc from Loughborough University and worked for Soccer.com in the United States.
Moving to New Zealand, he became the operations manager for Tennis Northern Region from 2008-2013.
Coventry has experience working in club governance, regional sports organisations and in local government.
Foundation chair Aliesha Staples said:
“Neil has a wealth of experience in fundraising, grant management and project management that is a great fit for this role. He is well respected across the NZ sport sector and will bring a proactive and measured approach to delivering the Foundation’s goals.
“Having helped to deliver improved training facilities for women and girls, and with his roots in community football, we know his values and support for diversity and inclusion align strongly with the Foundation’s.
“His appointment will enable a refocus on the acquisition of funds and engaging benefactors so that we can support football development projects across Aotearoa New Zealand. We are delighted to have him on board.’’
Coventry, who was also part of New Zealand Football’s 2020 Delivery & Sustainability project, says he can’t wait to get started and to meet existing donors, federations and stakeholders.
“I’m fortunate to be standing on the shoulders of those with great foresight and passion for football in Aotearoa New Zealand.
“I arrive at an exciting time following the success of the Women’s World Cup and an expanded Men’s World Cup to come.
“Being based in Football House, Albany will give me the opportunity to work closely with the New Zealand Football team and help the Foundation to grow its ability to support the game across the country.”
New Zealand Football CEO Andrew Pragnell said: “It’s great to have Neil moving into such a critical role in the New Zealand football system as he has wide-ranging experience in managing investment into sport and a true passion for football.
“He has done everything from chairing one of our football clubs, to more recently playing a key leadership role in the hosting of FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, and is able to walk in the shoes of our stakeholders.
“We look forward to working with Neil and continuing to collaborate with the New Zealand Football Foundation as they help to grow and support the game in Aotearoa.”
About the NZ Football Foundation
The NZFF is a charitable foundation established to manage a capital fund that New Zealand Football received as a result of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.
The Foundation’s purpose is to protect and grow its capital base and distribute net earnings for the benefit of football in New Zealand via grants. Since its inception, NZFF has distributed more than $1.8m in grants into the football community and has a current invested portfolio of $5.5 million.
For more details on the Foundation and how to become a Football Foundation supporter or donor visit: