Funeral of football reporter Grant Wahl sent to USA

A senior State Department official said his body and belongings were returned to the United States on Monday after football reporter Grant Wahl died while following the World Cup in Qatar last week.

Wahl’s remains and belongings arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport around 8:30 am ET, the official said. They were accompanied by a consular officer from the US Embassy in Doha, who has held custody of Wahl’s remains since Wahl collapsed during Friday’s match between Argentina and the Netherlands, and since his later death.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to privacy concerns, did not provide additional details, but said the embassy in Qatar was working with Wahl’s family to ensure that the repatriation went smoothly.

Wahl, an American journalist who helped increase the popularity of football in the United States and wrote some of the biggest stories in the sport, was 49 years old.

Tributes have poured in since Wahl’s death, and on Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken added his voice to the chorus of appreciation.

“I greatly appreciated Grant Wahl, whose writings reflect not only the essence of the beautiful game, but also the world around him,” Blinken wrote on Twitter about an hour after the repatriation was completed.

Blinken added, “My deepest condolences to his family and thank you to our embassy team and our Qatari partners who have worked so effectively together to grant their wishes.”

Wahl, who complained of respiratory problems at the beginning of the week and was treated for a possible case of bronchitis, fell back in his seat in the journalist section of the Lusail Stadium during the extra time of the match and the reporters next to him called. for help.

Emergency workers responded very quickly, treating him in the field for 20 or 30 minutes and then putting him on a stretcher. The World Cup organizing committee said he was taken to Hamad General Hospital in Doha, but did not specify a cause of death.

Wahl wrote for Sports Illustrated for over two decades and then launched his own website. He was an important voice in informing the American public about football at a time when interest increased after the United States hosted the 1994 World Cup.

He also brought a critical perspective to the international organizing bodies of sports.


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