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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

US Soccer Journalist Grant Wahl Dies Covering World Cup in Qatar

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Influential U.S. soccer journalist Grant Wahl died in Qatar while covering the World Cup, his brother announced. He was 49.

While covering Argentina’s quarterfinal win over the Netherlands on Friday, Wahl, who had run his own Substack after a long career at Sports Illustrated, collapsed at Lusail Iconic Stadium and was rushed to a nearby hospital. It’s unclear whether he died at the hospital or in transport.

His brother, Eric, believes foul play from the Qatari government may have been involved.

“My name is Eric Wahl. I live in Seattle, Washington. I am Grant Wahl’s brother. I’m gay,” he said in a video posted to his Instagram account before making the account private. “I’m the reason he wore the rainbow shirt to the World Cup. My brother was healthy. He told me he received death threats. I do not believe my brother just died. I believe he was killed. And I just beg for any help.”

The Qatari government cracked down on pro-LGBTQ demonstrations at the tournament despite their original promises not to. In addition to his rainbow-themed shirt, Wahl has been an outspoken critic of the Qatari government and its hosting of the World Cup.

On Thursday, he wrote “They just don’t care. Qatari World Cup organizers don’t even hide their apathy over migrant worker deaths, including the most recent one,” in an article on his Substack.

“We’re still trying to find out,” Eric continued. “He collapsed at the stadium, was given cpr, was taken by Uber to hospital and died according to Celine. We just spoke with the state department and Celine has spoken to Ron Klain and the White House.”

Just one day prior, Wahl revealed that he was dealing with bronchitis while feeling under the weather.

“The entire U.S. soccer family is heartbroken to learn that we have lost Grant Wahl,” U.S. Soccer said in a statement.

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