Grant Wall, an influential American football journalist, died while covering the World Cup in Qatar. He was 48 years old.
While covering Argentina’s quarterfinal win over the Netherlands on Friday, Wahl, who runs his own Substack after working for Sports Illustrated, collapsed at the Lusail Iconic Stadium and was taken to a nearby hospital. It is not known whether he died at the hospital or in transport.
His brother Eric believes there may be foul play by the Qatari government.
“My name is Eric Wall. I live in Seattle, Washington. I’m Grant Wahl’s brother. I am gay,” he said in a video he shared on his Instagram account. “I’m the reason he’s wearing a rainbow shirt to the World Cup. My brother was healthy. He told me he had received death threats. I can’t believe my brother just died. I believe he was killed. And I’m begging for any help.”
Ahead of the USMNT’s World Cup game against Wales, Wahl was initially denied entry to Ahmed bin Ali Stadium and detained for 30 minutes for wearing a shirt featuring a soccer ball surrounded by a rainbow. In the end, they let him into the stadium.
Despite initially promising pro-LGBTQ demonstrations at the tournament, the Qatari government suppressed them.
“We’re still trying to learn,” Eric continued. “He collapsed in the stadium, got cpr, was taken to the hospital by Uber and died according to Celine. We just talked to the state department and Celine talked to Ron Klain and the White House.
Wahl was married to Céline R. Gounder, an American infectious disease physician who served on the transition team of the COVID-19 Advisory Council for President Joe Biden.
During the game, Wahl tweeted coverage of the proceedings. His last tweetIt was 4:05 PM ET.
“So thankful for my husband @GrantWahl’s support of the football family and the many friends who reached out tonight.” Grounder tweeted. “I’m in complete shock.”
A native of Mission, Kan., Wahl attended Princeton University. In addition to his work at Sports Illustrated, he was also a soccer reporter and analyst for CBS Sports and Fox Sports, and is the author of The Beckham Experience.
“The entire U.S. Soccer family is saddened to learn of the loss of Grant Wahl” – U.S. Soccer said in the statement. “Fans of high-quality soccer and journalism knew we could always count on Grant to deliver insightful and entertaining stories about our game and its main characters: the teams, players, coaches and the many personalities that make soccer different from any other sport. Here in the United States, Grant’s passion for soccer and commitment to raising its profile in our sports landscape has played a major role in increasing interest and respect for our beautiful game.
“Importantly, Grant’s belief in the power of play to advance human rights was and will continue to be an inspiration to all. Grant made football his life’s work and we are disappointed that he and his brilliant writing will no longer be with us.
“USA football Grant’s wife Dr. Our deepest condolences to Celine Grounder and all of his family, friends and media colleagues. We also thank Grant for his great dedication and impact on the game in the United States. His writings and the stories he told will live on.”