Lusail:Prominent US soccer journalist Grant Wahl has died after collapsing while covering World Cup quarterfinal between Argentina and the Netherlands at Lusail Stadium. He was 49.
“The entire US Soccer family is heartbroken to learn that we have lost Grant Wahl,” the US Soccer Federation said in a statement. “Here in the United States, Grant’s passion for soccer and commitment to elevating its profile across our sporting landscape palyed a major role in helping to drive interest in and respect for our beautiful game.
“As important, Grant’s belief in the power of the game to advance human rights was, and will remain, an inspiration to all.”
Wahl was reportedly unconscious in his press box seat during extra time and was tended by paramedics.
A team of medics began administering CPR for the next 20 minutes. After the match concluded, Wahl was taken away from the scene, according to CNN.
Wahl’s wife, Dr Celine Gounder, confirmed her husband’s death in a statement on Twitter. ““I am so thankful for the support of my husband @GrantWahl’s soccer family & of so many friends who’ve reached out tonight. I’m in complete shock,” she wrote.
Wahl had covered soccer for more than two decades, including 11 World Cups, according to his website. He was a longtime writer for Sports Illustrated.
He has authored two books — The Beckham Experiment (2009), the first soccer book to make the New York Times Best Seller list, and Masters of Modern Soccer (2018), about the craft of soccer position by position.
The U.S. State Department said it has urged the Qatari government to fulfill his family’s wishes.
“We were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Grant Wahl and send our condolences to his family, with whom we have been in close communication,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a tweet.
He had earlier made headlines when he was detained by World Cup security for wearing rainbow t-shirt during the USA and Wales match at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium.
“When I arrived at the stadium media entrance to cover the United States-Wales World Cup game today wearing a rainbow soccer ball t-shirt supporting the LGBTQ community, the security guards refused to let me in, detained me for 25 minutes and angrily demanded that I remove my t-shirt,” Wahl wrote in his website.
He also said that a moment after tweeting about the incident, one guard forcibly ripped my phone from my hands. One security guard told me that my shirt was “political” and not allowed. Another continually refused to give me back my phone. Another guard yelled at me as he stood above me — I was sitting on a chair by now — that I had to remove my shirt.