Brother of Grant Wahl claims foul play after death at Qatar World Cup

Dec 9, 2022, 9:23 PM | Updated: Dec 10, 2022, 7:55 am
Grant Wahl Qatar World Cup...
DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 19: Signage at the Corniche ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 at on November 19, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Grant Wahl, an acclaimed U.S. soccer writer who was heavily critical of Qatar’s human rights record covering the FIFA World Cup, died early Saturday while covering the Argentina vs. Netherlands match. His brother, a Seattle resident, is claiming his death was foul play.

Wahl, 48, reportedly fell back in his seat in the media tribute at Lusail Iconic Stadium during extra time of the match, according to The Associated Press. Emergency workers responded quickly, but it was later revealed that Wahl had passed.

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Before the United States Men’s National Team’s first match against Wales on Nov. 21, Wahl was detained outside the stadium for wearing a rainbow-themed t-shirt in support of LGBTQ rights. Same-sex relations are criminalized in Qatar, a conservative Muslim nation.

Wahl also wrote about the country’s significant human rights issues, as hundreds of migrant workers reportedly lost their lives building infrastructure for the World Cup.

In an Instagram post, Wahl’s brother said that the death wasn’t a coincidence.

“My brother was healthy. He told me he received death threats,” said Eric Wahl. “I do not believe my brother just died. I believe he was killed, and I just beg for any help.”

Wahl was covering his eighth World Cup. He wrote on his website Monday that he had visited a medical clinic while in Qatar.

“My body finally broke down on me. Three weeks of little sleep, high stress, and lots of work can do that to you,” Wahl wrote. “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.”

Qatar says worker deaths for World Cup ‘between 400 and 500’

Wahl wrote that he tested negative for COVID-19 and sought treatment for his symptoms.

“I went into the medical clinic at the main media center today, and they said I probably have bronchitis. They gave me a course of antibiotics and some heavy-duty cough syrup, and I’m already feeling a bit better just a few hours later. But still: No bueno,” he wrote.

The Seattle Sounders FC and U.S. Soccer released statements on Twitter Friday night regarding the loss of Wahl.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Brother of Grant Wahl claims foul play after death at Qatar World Cup