US sports journalist dies in Qatar

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A prominent football journalist from the United States has died while covering the World Cup in Qatar.

Grant Wahl, 48, collapsed as extra time began in the Argentina-Netherlands game on Friday night.

Early reports suggest he may have had a heart attack, but this has yet to be officially confirmed.

Last month Mr Wahl was briefly detained by Qatari authorities for trying to enter a stadium wearing a rainbow shirt, in support of LGBT rights.

In a statement, the US Soccer Federation said it was “heartbroken” by the news.

“Fans of soccer and journalism of the highest quality knew we could always count on Grant to deliver insightful and entertaining stories about our game, and its major protagonists,” it said.

In a tweet, Mr Wahl’s wife, Céline Gounder, said she was in “complete shock”, adding that she was “so thankful” for the support she had received from friends.

Mr Wahl celebrated his 48th birthday on Thursday with friends in Qatar, a day before he collapsed. He wrote on his website on Monday that he had been unwell in the last 10 days and was on a course of antibiotics for suspected bronchitis.

“My body finally broke down on me,” he 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.

“I didn’t have Covid (I test regularly here), but I went into the medical clinic and the main media center today, and they said I probably have bronchitis.”

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FIFA President Gianni Infantino said Mr Wahl’s love for football was “immense”, adding that his reporting would be “missed by all who follow the global game”.

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