Philly’s bid to host 2026 World Cup gets new leadership

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia’s bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2026 is getting a change of leadership.

The current chairman, former Comcast Vice President David Cohen, is up for the job of U.S. ambassador to Canada. The new chairman is just as familiar a name in Philly: Dan Hilferty.

Hilferty, the former CEO of Independence Blue Cross, has worked with Cohen before on the Democratic National Convention host committee, and both men led the Chamber of Commerce before retiring from their high-profile jobs.

Cohen said it’s a good fit as the two will co-lead Philadelphia Soccer 2026 until Cohen is confirmed to his ambassadorship by the Senate. Then, Hilferty will take the reins.

“In Philadelphia, we have a formula for this, which is that all the work is not done by a bid committee that’s here now and gone after the event,” said Cohen. “We draw the outstanding resources we have in the city so the chair of the committee is a conductor of the orchestra, if you will, and that’s the role I’ve tried to fulfill and that’s the role Dan will fulfill.”

Both men will host the site visit that FIFA officials are making next week. Cohen said it will be low-key — less than half a day, virtually all of it at the Linc, with one member each checking out the practice facilities and fan fest venues.

Still, Cohen said, it is a great opportunity for them to meet Hilferty in person.

“I think that they get a feel for how the city lays out and I think it’s really important for getting a feel for the people, the quality of the people, the experience of the people and the enthusiasm of the people in hosting this site visit,” he added.