Sports

Sports journalist dies in Qatar during Argentina v Netherlands game

A renowned American football journalist passed away while covering the World Cup in Qatar.

As the game between Argentina and the Netherlands entered extra time on Friday, Grant Wahl, 48, passed out.

He may have suffered a heart attack, according to early reports, but this has not yet been formally confirmed.

In favor of LGBT rights, Mr. Wahl attempted to enter a stadium last month and was briefly held by Qatari officials.

The US Soccer Federation expressed its “heartbreak” over the news in a statement.

The statement read, “Fans of soccer and high caliber journalism knew we could always count on Grant to bring enlightening and entertaining pieces about our game, and its key protagonists.

Mr. Wahl’s wife, Céline Gounder, wrote in a tweet that she was “completely in shock” and expressed her gratitude for the support from friends.

A day before he passed away, Mr. Wahl celebrated his 48th birthday with friends in Qatar on Thursday. On Monday, he posted on his website that he had been ill for the previous 10 days and was taking medication for what he believed to be bronchitis.

He wrote, “My body finally gave out on me.” “On the night before the USA-Netherlands game, what had been a cold for the previous ten days morphed into something more severe, and I could feel my upper chest take on a new degree of pressure and discomfort.

“I went into the medical clinic and the major media center today, and they said I probably had bronchitis,” I didn’t have Covid (I test routinely here), but they stated that.

Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, praised Mr. Wahl’s “immense love” for the game and stated that his reporting would be “missed by everyone who follow the global game.”

Numerous UK journalists have paid tribute. Mr. Wahl was referred to as a “great journalist” by Piers Morgan and a “wonderful man” and “giant of the press box” by Henry Winter of the Times.

“Grant Wahl was a known and enormously regarded journalist, and the avalanche of condolences is proof to the reverence in which he was held,” BBC Sport’s Dan Roan tweeted.

Don Garber, the commissioner of Major League Soccer, wrote on Twitter that his organization was “shocked, saddened, and heartbroken” over Grant Wahl’s unfortunate demise. His love for soccer and commitment to journalism were unmatched. He was a warm and compassionate man.

Billie Jean King, a legendary tennis player in the US, praised Mr. Wahl as well, calling him “an champion for the LGBTQ community and a major voice for women’s soccer.”

The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, the Qatari organization in charge of organizing the World Cup, released the following statement after Grant Wahl’s passing: “We are extremely grieved by his passing.

“Grant was in Qatar to cover his seventh Fifa World Cup and was well known for his fervent passion of sport.

“He became unwell while watching Argentina vs. Netherlands last night at the Lusail Stadium media tribune. On-site emergency medical care was provided right away, and it continued until he was transported by ambulance to Hamad General Hospital.

“We are in contact with the US Embassy and the appropriate local authorities to make sure the body is returned in accordance with the family’s wishes,” the statement reads.

Ronaldo, a celebrity in Brazilian football, honored Mr. Wahl earlier this week for covering eight straight World Cups; his first was in the US in 1994.

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