Grant Wahl, a well-known U.S. journalist for soccer, collapsed while covering a game at the World Cup Qatar. His agent reported that he died on Friday.
U.S. soccer said that it was heartbroken to hear about Wahl’s passing. On Twitter, Wahl’s wife said she was in shock and responded to U.S. Soccer.
The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, Qatar’s World Cup organizers paid tribute to Wahl’s “enormous passion for football” and expressed condolences for his loved ones, including friends and colleagues in media.
Wahl, a former Sports Illustrated sportswriter who moved to the Substack online publishing platform, had been tweeting about the Netherlands-Argentina match earlier on Friday.
Tim Scanlan was Wahl’s agent and he told Reuters that Wahl “appeared in some type of acute distress at the start of additional time” during the quarterfinal match.
Scanlan stated that attempts were made in the press box to revive Wahl before he was transported to a local hospital where he was declared dead.
The spokesperson for the SC stated that they are currently in contact with the U.S. Embassy as well as relevant local authorities in order to make sure the repatriation process is done in the best interest of the family.
The international media office of Qatar did not respond immediately to inquiries for comment.
Scanlan stated that everyone is emotional, and it can be very traumatic. He was an advocate for the women’s and men’s sports and truly cared about it. His empathy and brilliant writing skills were unmatched.
Gianni Infantino (president of FIFA world soccer governing body) offered condolences. He stated that Wahl’s love for football was “immensible” and that his reporting would be greatly missed by those who follow the game.
Wahl claimed that he was stopped briefly at the World Cup security screening point in November when he attempted to enter wearing a rainbow shirt as support for the LGBTQ community. Same-sex relationships are prohibited in Qatar.
He claimed that World Cup security had denied him access to the United States opener against Wales at Al Rayyan’s Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium. Then he asked for his shirt to be removed.
Wahl stated Monday that he visited a hospital in Qatar while on vacation.
He posted the following on Substack: “I did not have Covid, but I tested regularly at this center), but today I went to the medical clinic at main media centre and they told me that I likely have bronchitis.”
Ned Price, spokesperson for the U.S. State Department stated on Twitter that they had maintained close contact with Wahl’s family.
Price stated that he is working with Qatari senior officials to ensure his loved ones’ wishes are met as quickly as possible.
U.S. soccer communities shared their grief immediately over the news.
Don Garber, Major League Soccer Commissioner said that Garber was “a kind, caring individual whose passion and dedication to journalism were unmeasurable.”
Megan Rapinoe, twice World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe stated on Twitter that “this is so devastating.” All the best to his loved ones and family.