Soccer journalist Grant Wahl, a prominent American soccer journalist, passed away early Saturday morning while covering the World Cup match between Argentina and the Netherlands. He was 48. Reporters sitting next to him in the press section of Lusail Stadium said Wahl fell back in his seat during the game’s extra time, and they had to help him up.
Soccer journalist Grant Wahl dies in Qatar
According to Keir Radnedge, a veteran British sports journalist nearby, the emergency services reacted swiftly, treated him on the spot for 20 or 30 minutes, and then brought him out on a stretcher. For the November 21st match between the United States and Wales in the World Cup, Wahl wore a rainbow T-shirt in favor of LGBTQ rights but was denied access and instructed to remove the shirt by security.
Qatar is a conservative Muslim emirate where homosexuality and lesbianism are punishable by law. According to Wahl’s account, he was detained by security for 25 minutes at the Ahmed Bin Ali stadium in Al Rayyan before being released.
Wahl claims FIFA has sent an official apology to him. Wahl wrote a Sports Illustrated cover article about LeBron James in 2002, while James was a sophomore at St. Vincent-St. Mary High in Akron, Ohio, was among his work before he began covering soccer entirely.
“You come to a World Cup as a journalist to work, to share the stresses, the pressures. But also the enjoyments and the fascination of it — and to share that with your readers, your listeners, your viewers. That’s what Grant was doing, that’s what he enjoyed doing. Everybody recognized that enthusiasm in him,” Radnedge said.
“So for him to not be with us anymore at such a young age, that’s an immense shock.”