American Journalist Grant Wahl Dies While Reporting On World Cup Match In Qatar
Highly-regarded American soccer journalist Grant Wahl died covering the World Cup in Qatar on Friday at age 48 after collapsing at the quarterfinal match between Argentina and the Netherlands.
Wahl fell back in his seat in a section of Lusail Stadium reserved for journalists during extra game time, and nearby reporters called for medical help. Emergency services arrived on the scene, treated him for 20 or 30 minutes on site and took him out on a stretcher,
The World Cup organizing committee said he was taken to Doha’s Hamad General Hospital, but it did not state a cause of death. “We are in touch with the US Embassy and relevant local authorities to ensure the process of repatriating the body is in accordance with the family’s wishes,” it said in a statement.
Following his passing, U.S. Soccer tweeted a statement that read, “The entire U.S. Soccer family is heartbroken to learn that we have lost Grant Wahl. Fans of soccer and journalism of the highest quality knew we could always count on Grant to deliver insightful and entertaining stories about our game, and its major protagonists: teams, players, coaches and the many personalities that make soccer unlike any sport here in the United States.“
Wahl’s widow, Dr. Celine Gounder, retweeted that statement on Twitter, adding, “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 also asked for privacy at this time, telling the New York Times that she would leave all public comment to the U.S. Embassy in Qatar and the United States Soccer Federation. Ned Price, a State Department spokesman, and White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed that U.S. officials are in contact with Wahl’s family and “engaged with senior Qatari officials to see to it that his family’s wishes are fulfilled as expeditiously as possible.”
Wahl, who wrote for Sports Illustrated for over two decades and then started his own website, according to the Associated Press, was a major influence on soccer coverage during a time of increased interest after the U.S. hosted the 1994 World Cup. He also brought a critical eye to the organizational bodies of the international sport.
Wahl also worked for Fox Sports from 2012-19 and was hired by CBS Sports in 2021 as an analyst and editorial consultant. Wahl wrote the 2009 book “The Beckham Experiment” after English soccer star David Beckham joined Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy, and the 2018 book “Masters of Modern Soccer.”