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Longtime sportswriter Grant Wahl died on Friday while covering the Argentina-Netherlands quarter-final of the 2022 World Cup in Doha, Qatar.
As the game drew to a close, an NPR reporter witnessed a commotion in the press box at Lusail Stadium. Reporters dispersed as Wahl collapsed. Paramedics came to the living room area where he was and performed CPR. After several minutes, they took him out on a stretcher while using an automatic chest compressor to continue applying CPR.
Wahl’s wife and brother both confirmed his death to NPR. He was 48 years old.
Grant Wahl has often appeared on NPR to discuss the intricacies of football and his love of the game.
As NPR reported earlier, Wahl was barred from entering a World Cup stadium in Qatar in November because he was wearing a rainbow t-shirt.
Earlier: Security guard refusing to let me into the stadium for USA-Wales. “You need to change your shirt. It’s not allowed.” pic.twitter.com/TvSGThMYq8
— Subscribe to GrantWahl.com (@GrantWahl) November 21, 2022
Wahl said a stadium security guard turned him away: “You have to change your shirt. It’s not allowed.” Wahl said he was briefly detained. Qatar have been a controversial host since winning the tournament in 2010.
Its human rights record has been heavily criticised. And, since the start of the tournament last month, the Persian Gulf country’s rules banning same-sex relations have been front and center. It’s illegal in Qatar and punishable by jail. When several captains of European teams announced that they would wear special rainbow armbands, FIFA cracked down and threatened the players with yellow cards.
Wahl had criticized FIFA and Qatar during the tournament.
American football noted Wahl’s death in a tweet, saying the organization was heartbroken. “Grant’s passion for football and his commitment to raising his profile in our sporting landscape has played a major role in helping to generate interest and respect for our beautiful game.”
Wahl was a longtime sports reporter for Sports Illustrated – traveling the world covering football events like the World Cup, Women’s World Cup and many European tournaments. He and the magazine parted ways in 2020 and he branched out on his own. He also appeared regularly on Fox Sports and CBS Sports as a commentator.