Grant Wahl, American Journalist Covering World Cup in Qatar, Dies at 48

Grant Wahl, American Journalist Covering World Cup in Qatar, Dies at 48

Grant Wahl, an American journalist who covered the World Cup , in Qatar, has passed away. He was 48.

Wahl’s sister, Dr. Celine Gounder, and his brother Eric Wahl confirmed his death via social networking.

“I am so grateful for the support of @GrantWahl and of so many friends who have reached out tonight,” Celine tweeted .

Wahl, who was known for being one of the country’s most respected soccer journalists, was reporting from the World Cup for his Substack as well as serving as an analyst for CBS Sports. Wahl reported on his Substack that he felt unwell and went to the local medical center.

“What had been a cold over the last 10 days turned into something more severe on the night of the USA-Netherlands game, and I could feel my upper chest take on a new level of pressure and discomfort,” Wahl wrote, adding that he had tested negative for COVID. “They gave me antibiotics and heavy-duty cough syrup and I feel a lot better just a few hours later

Wahl collapsed in the press box during Saturday’s Argentina-Netherlands game and was declared dead after being removed on a stretcher.

On Nov. 21, while covering World Cup in Qatar, Wahl shared in an article on his Substack page that he was refused entrance into a stadium for U.S.A.’s game against Wales because he was wearing a rainbow shirt.

He claimed that he was being held and that security had asked him to remove the shirt. In Qatar, same-sex relationships are illegal. Wahl stated in his article that he wore this shirt to support the LGBTQ community.

Wahl posted on Twitter ,, “Just now: Security guard refusing me entry into the stadium for USAWales. “You must change your shirt. It’s not allowed.

Substack article states that he was allowed to enter the stadium wearing the shirt. Wahl followed up with another tweet, saying, “I’m okay, but that wasn’t necessary. I am still wearing my shirt and am in the media center. I was held for almost half an hour. Go gays.”

Eric shared a video to his Instagram account in which he stated that he is gay, and that Grant wore the shirt to the World Cup.

The U.S. Soccer Federation released a statement in response to Wahl’s passing. It stated that Grant’s passion for soccer, and his commitment to elevating it’s profile across the sporting landscape, played a major part in helping to drive interest and respect for the beautiful game.

“As important as Grant’s belief that the game could advance human rights was, or will remain, an inspiration for all,” the statement continued.

Wahl worked previously for Fox Sports and NBC Sports. Wahl also produced the Amazon Prime Video docuseries Good rivals ,, which premiered just two weeks ago.

But it was at Sports Illustrated where Wahl began chronicling the sport. A veteran of the magazine for more than two decades, Wahl left SI in 2020 after it had been acquired by The Maven.

Wahl wrote more than three dozen cover stories for the magazine, including the February 2002 cover story that introduced America to a young high school basketball star named LeBron James (“The Chosen One” was the cover line).

His Dec. 8 Substack report took aim at the Qatar World Cup organizers. He stated that “they just don’t care .”


“Qatari World Cup organizers aren’t even hiding their apathy over the deaths of migrant workers, including the most recent,” he said, recounting the death of a Filipino migrant during the games.

Christy Pina, Carly Thomas contributed to this article.

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