The brother of Grant Wahl suspects there was foul play in the death of the American soccer journalist at the FIFA World Cup, he said in a video.
Wahl fell ill before passing while covering a match between Argentina and the Netherlands on Friday. He was 48.
“My name is Eric Wahl. I live in Seattle, Washington. I am Grant Wahl’s brother. I’m gay,” Wahl’s brother, Eric, said in an Instagram post on his now-private account. “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.”
Absolutely bone chilling stuff
Soccer journalist Grant Wahl who was kicked out of a stadium in QATAR for this shirt has reportedly collapsed and passed away during the Argentina game today
His brother says on Instagram that Grant was fully healthy & believes there’s foul play pic.twitter.com/t47C2XfuVl
— JACK SETTLEMAN (@jacksettleman) December 10, 2022
He was detained earlier at the World Cup at Al Rayyan Stadium prior to the USA-Wales match on November 21. He said he was stopped by stadium security after noticing his rainbow T-shirt with a soccer ball on it.
Same-sex marriage and public displays of homosexuality are illegal in Qatar, though FIFA officials had said the rainbow flag would be allowed to be displayed at the World Cup.
“When I arrived at the stadium media entrance to cover the United States-Wales World Cup game today wearing a rainbow soccer ball T-shirt supporting the LGBTQ community, the security guards refused to let me in, detained me for 25 minutes, and angrily demanded that I remove my T-shirt,” Wahl wrote in a post about the incident. “One guard forcibly ripped my phone from my hands.”
Just now: Security guard refusing to let me into the stadium for USA-Wales. “You have to change your shirt. It’s not allowed.” pic.twitter.com/TvSGThMYq8
— Subscribe to GrantWahl.com (@GrantWahl) November 21, 2022
Wahl, whose cause of death has not been released, had previously visited a medical clinic, according to his website.
“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.”
Wahl also recorded and posted his “Futbol with Grant Wahl” podcast on Thursday, and said he’d “been to the medical clinic at the media center twice now, including today,” after coming down bronchitis.
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. https://t.co/OB3IzOxGlE
— Céline Gounder, MD, ScM, FIDSA 🇺🇦 (@celinegounder) December 10, 2022
“It is with disbelief and immense sadness that I have been made aware of the passing of renowned sports journalist Grant Wahl, whilst reporting on a quarter-final match during the FIFA World Cup in Qatar,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said, according to the FIFA website.
“Only some days ago, Grant was recognised by FIFA and AIPS for his contribution to reporting on eight consecutive FIFA World Cups, and his career also included attendance at several FIFA Women’s World Cups, as well as a host of other international sporting events. His love for football was immense and his reporting will be missed by all who follow the global game.
“On behalf of FIFA and the football community, we express our sincerest condolences to his wife Céline, his family, and his friends at this most difficult time.”
Tonight we pay tribute to Grant Wahl at his assigned seat in Al Bayt Stadium. He should have been here. Our thoughts remain with his wife Céline, his family, and his friends at this most difficult time ❤️ pic.twitter.com/8j5pTQOrHe
— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) December 10, 2022