Grant Wahl was stricken at the Argentina-Netherlands quarterfinal match at the World Cup. (Grant Wahl photo)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

Well-known Soccer writer Grant Wahl passed away at the World Cup in Qatar on Friday.

Wahl was 48.

He was covering the Argentina-Netherlands quarterfinal match when he collapsed. He died either during transport or at the hospital.

Exact details are sketchy.

Wahl, who had his own Substack, was a long-time soccer writer for Sports Illustrated. He also wrote the book, The Beckham Experiment.

His brother Eric said on Instagram that he suspected foul play.

“My name is Eric Wahl. I live in Seattle, Washington. I am Grant Wahl’s brother. I’m gay,” he said in a video. “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.”

Due to his long work hours in Qatar, Wahl was getting about five hours of sleep a night.

“My body finally broke down on me,” he wrote on Monday, according to The New York Times. “Three weeks of little sleep, high stress and lots of work can do that to you.”

Wahl had tested negative for COVID-19 when what seemed to be a common cold had “turned into something more severe,” he wrote, according to The Times.

“I could feel my upper chest take on a new level of pressure and discomfort,” he added.

Dr. Celine Gounder, Wahl’s wife, said 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.”

 

Late Friday night, U.S. Soccer issued a statement:

“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, Grant’s passion for soccer and commitment to elevating its profile across our sporting landscape played 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. Grant made soccer his life’s work, and we are devastated that he and his brilliant writing will no longer be with us.”

“U.S. Soccer sends its sincerest condolences to Grant’s wife, Dr. Celine Gounder, and all of his family members, friends and colleagues in the media. And we thank Grant for his tremendous dedication to and impact on our game in the United States. His writing and the stories he told will live on.”

 

Grant Wahl was recently detained for wearing a rainbow shirt while covering the World Cup.

Grant Wahl in his rainbow shirt.