As the Netherlands and Argentina were locked in an intense battle tearing every bit of grass at the Lusail stadium, the paramedics here was waging a war of their own to save one of our own. But sadly Grant Wahl, a veteran US football journalist covering his eight World Cup, is no more and the football world mourns.
“It is with disbelief and immense sadness that I have been made aware of the passing of renowned sports journalist Grant Wahl, while reporting on a quarter-final match during the FIFA World Cup in Qatar,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said in a statement.
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“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 Celine, his family, and his friends at this most difficult time.”
Wahl fell unconscious in the media tribune during the start of the second half of extra-time and his colleagues immediately called for help. The paramedics were quick to react and administered CPR even as they game went on, oblivious to the tragedy unfolding in the stands.
He was finally stretchered away from the scene, hooked on to a defibrillator. But, sadly, US Soccer later in a statement announced Wahl’s passing.
Wahl was a constant companion of US soccer since covering the home World Cup in 1994 and had announced his candidature for the FIFA president’s post in 2011. Though he failed to garner any nomination, his message resonated with the football fans.
“As president I would do a WikiLeaks on FIFA, releasing every internal document to the public so we could find out how clean or unclean FIFA really is. I would push for term limits to prevent any FIFA president from serving more than two four-year terms. I would support (with the approval of the IFAB) the introduction of video-replay technology for all close calls on the goal line. And I would name a woman as FIFA’s general secretary, the organization’s most powerful appointed position, to change the old-boy network culture that will continue to thrive as long as all 24 members of the FIFA executive committee are men,” Wahl had written in an article for Sports Illustrated.