‘The icing on the cake’: Philly officials and organizers react to 2026 FIFA World Cup schedule

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Philadelphia city officials and organizers gathered Monday at the Independence Visitors Center to outline Sunday’s announcement that Philly will host five June group stage games and a round of 16 match on the Fourth of July for the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup.

One word summed up the reaction to finally hearing the schedule for Host City Executive Meg Kane: “relieved.”

“This now gives us the ebb and flow of what the tournament will feel like,” Kane said. “The matchday minus-one, matchday and matchday plus-one; each of these events is like hosting the Super Bowl — the three-day event. So we are going to feel that six times in a three-week period. That’s an extraordinary opportunity.”

Kane said the upcoming preparations will emphasize “safety, security, transportation and mobility.”

Philly was announced as a World Cup host city back in June 2022 with Lincoln Financial Field elected as the venue. The City’s group stage games will be on June 14, 19, 22, 25 and 27. The tournament itself runs from June 11 to July 19, jointly hosted by 16 cities across the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Forty-eight international teams will compete in 104 matches, a massive expansion from the previous tournament in Qatar in 2022, which had 32 teams competing over 64 games.

The home of the Philadelphia Eagles most recently showcased top-level soccer matches last year with the opening weekend of the first-ever English Premier League Summer Series and an international friendly match between Mexico and Germany in October.

Frank Gumienny, COO of the Philadelphia Eagles football team (right), and Meg Kane, Host City Executive for Philadelphia Soccer 2026 (left), offered insights on large sporting events at a press conference at the Independence Visitor’s Center on February 5, 2024. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Though the Premier League won’t return this year, Eagles Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Frank Gumienny said discussions are currently happening to bring more soccer to the Linc.

“We’re always looking to bring the biggest events in the world to Lincoln Financial Field,” Gumienny said. “We’re going to continue to do that, and we think we are well underway for ‘24 [and] potentially ‘25.”

  • February 6, 2024
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