WASHINGTON/DOHA: American football journalist Grant Wahl, who died while covering a World Cup match in Qatar, may have been killed, according to his brother.
“I’m the reason he wore the rainbow jersey to the World Cup. I don’t believe my brother just died, I believe he was killed,” said Eric, who is from the LGBTQ community, quoted by Daily Mail in a report.
Wahl said in late November he was briefly detained as he tried to enter a World Cup stadium in Qatar while wearing a rainbow shirt to support the LGBTQ community in a country. where same-sex relations are illegal.
He said World Cup security denied him access to the USA opener against Wales at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan and asked him to take off his shirt .
“Read for free: What happened when Qatar World Cup security detained me for 25 minutes for wearing a t-shirt supporting LGBTQ rights, took my phone by force and angrily asked to remove my t-shirt to enter the stadium? (I declined.),” Wahl posted on his Twitter account.
“One of the security guards told me they were just trying to protect me from the fans inside who might hurt me because I was wearing the shirt…And then a security commander walked over. approached me. He said they were letting me through and apologized. We shook hands. But the whole episode had me wondering: what does it look like for them? Ordinary Qataris who could wear a rainbow shirt when the world isn’t looking here? What does it look like?” he also wrote on his Substack platform.
A FIFA representative also later apologized to the journalist.
Qatar World Cup organizers Supreme Delivery and Legacy Committee (SC) paid tribute to Wahl’s “enormous love of football” and offered condolences to his family, friends and his media colleagues.
Wahl, a former Sports Illustrated sportswriter who moved to online publishing platform Substack, had tweeted about the Netherlands-Argentina game earlier on Friday.
His agent, Tim Scanlan, said Wahl “seemed to be in some kind of acute distress at the start of extra time” in the quarter-final match.
Scanlan said attempts were made to revive Wahl in the press box before he was taken to a local hospital, where he was confirmed dead.
“He received immediate emergency medical treatment at the scene, which continued as he was transferred by ambulance to Hamad General Hospital,” the World Cup organizing committee said in a statement. , which did not list a cause of death.
“We are in contact with the United States Embassy and relevant local authorities to ensure that the process of repatriating the body is in accordance with the wishes of the family.”
Football’s world governing body FIFA and Qatar’s international media office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
“Everyone is emotional and it’s really traumatic,” Scanlan said. “He was a real advocate for the men’s and women’s games and really cared deeply about the sport. He was empathetic and really a brilliant writer.
Wahl was covering his eighth World Cup. He wrote on his website on Monday that he visited a medical clinic while in Qatar.
“My body finally crumbled on me. Three weeks of little sleep, high stress and a lot of work can do this to you,” Wahl wrote. turned into something more serious on the night of the USA-Netherlands game, and I could feel my upper chest taking on a new level of pressure and discomfort.”
Wahl wrote that he tested negative for COVID-19 and sought treatment for his symptoms.
“I went to the main media center medical clinic today, and they said I probably had bronchitis. They gave me a course of antibiotics and cough syrup, and I feel already a little better a few hours later. But still: No bueno”, he wrote.
Wahl tweeted Wednesday that he celebrated his birthday that day.
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